Friday, May 31, 2013

NAMI Takes a Stand for Mental Illness in New Documentary on Violence

Last night, thousands of viewers across Southwestern Pennsylvania watched a new documentary on gun violence in America called "Gun Violence: The Voices." Produced by Tonia Caruso for WQED-TV, the 30-minute documentary investigates gun violence and the gun control debate from a variety of different perspectives. One of those perspectives is that of Christine Michaels, MSHSA, executive director of NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. Michaels represents the mental health community in the documentary, which illustrates that mental illness is common and that people living with mental illness are no more likely to commit a violent crime than the rest of the population.

"In the incidences that we do know of where there has been a tragedy and an act of violence, and we know that the person did have a mental illness or a history of mental illness, we know that it (the mental illness) was untreated," Michaels stated. "And that is the operative word: untreated."

Michaels continues, "So if you're going to create new laws in terms of gun violence in America and you want to focus on mental illness then I think you should focus on treatment, not a list. It is a disincentive to seeking treatment."

To view the entire 30-minute documentary, which was funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation, click here.

No comments: