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Threat Ignored

Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 2, 12 at 10:01

Sometimes being right sucks. The Colorado massacre seems like it could have been prevented if Holmes' mental condition was addressed/considered rather than ignored. You can't just ignore crazy and hope it goes away. The stigma that our culture has re mental health creates a risk for us all.

Mental health screenings should be commonplace and services should be easily accessible as well as affordable, especially for young adults.

Lunatic ignored... again.... maybe he'll just go away...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Threat Ignored

I understand that at one time a lot of mental illness was misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and a lot of the institutions were horrors... but who was it, again, that just opened all the doors and allowed the mentally ill to fend for themselves?

This is a perfect reason to have universal health care... so people who need special help and treatment actually are able to receive it.


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RE: Threat Ignored

No it's not about mental illness it's about abortion, it's about SATAN it's about DADT.


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RE: Threat Ignored

Earlier last week, the school had searched through the records of this same psychiatrist - she was 'reprimanded' for writing prescriptions for Claritin (when it was still prescription only) for her husband, as well as prescribing some calming medication for some of her staff that had 'fear of flying' and had to take flights. Oh, the horror.

So the school initially puts out a gag order on students and employees, rescinds that when some folks protest about that first amendment thingie, then this


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 2, 12 at 10:41

"So the school initially puts out a gag order"

Went right into CYA mode.

I think it's called "gross negligence" in lawyerese.


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RE: Threat Ignored

Will someone be held accountable for ignoring the warning?


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RE: Threat Ignored

The Colorado massacre seems like it could have been prevented if Holmes' mental condition was addressed/considered rather than ignored.

Nikki Giovanni warned about Cho's behaviour in her class at Virginia Tech. It seems as if universities haven't learned how to deal with this type of situation.

Giovanni was first among a number of professors to sound the alarm regarding Cho's behavior. After Cho was removed from [her class], Giovanni's boss, Lucinda Roy, tutored him privately and alerted campus officials of her concerns over and over again. The then-chair even developed a code word to alert her assistant if Cho every threatened her. She never had to use the codeword.


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RE: Threat Ignored

Although we can all agree that the signals were there and something "should " have been done ...what could have been done to prevent this?

Is there a process in the United States for psychiatrists to report worrisome behaviors to the police? If so are the police empowered to do something? If so what is the process? Are judges involved? How long does it take? Do they have the staff to watch everyone that psychiatrist are concerned about?

My only point is that I suspect there is no sound process in place for doctors and police to act in these situations. In hindsight we know he was a serious danger but at the time...not so clear.

I won't rush to judgment on this except to say, in my view, the "system" is not set up to react effectively.


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RE: Threat Ignored

"This is a perfect reason to have universal health care... so people who need special help and treatment actually are able to receive it."

Yes, universal health care can address some of the issue, but what then happens is that those who are mentally ill will be put on meds, feel better and so go off their meds. It becomes extremely difficult to control and takes a long time to reach the proper balance in the meds. What is often needed is partnering meds with counselling and that is the expensive part. People don't want to admit that they are mentally ill because of the stigma attached, and so won't seek help.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 2, 12 at 13:48

My sister is a college professor. Coincidentally she is a neurobiologist and has eight students in her lab. First words out of her mouth re: this incident "they knew, they had to know". She looked up UC's neuro program, the kid had eight students in his lab.

The psychiatrist that was working with him headed the Threat Assessment Task Force at the university.... let me say that again, his doctor, the doctor he was seeing and later sent a package to with notebooks describing the attack headed the threat assessment task force for the university. The system was in place, they dropped the ball because the kid dropped out, he "went away" to become someone else's problem, not theirs.

"A University of Colorado psychiatrist whose clients included the former student accused of the Aurora theater shooting reportedly tried to discuss the man with members of a campus behavioral and security committee about a month before the attack but the group never convened.

KMGH, citing unnamed sources, reported that campus officials did not contact Aurora police before July 20 and that the committee didn't meet to discuss Holmes because he began the process to drop out of the school."

Actually sounds Sanduskyesque. The system was in place. The threat was ignored.


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RE: Threat Ignored

"The system was in place, they dropped the ball because the kid dropped out, he "went away" to become someone else's problem, not theirs. "

Was it? Is it? It's the system outside the university I am talking about. Child molestation is a totally different thing, they system is definitely in place to deal with reports. Is that true of mental illness?


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RE: Threat Ignored

It's the system outside the university I am talking about.

That's the problem, Chase. There's no "there" there.

The only options are that a person with these issues:

1) voluntarily seeks mental health treatment (and yes, all counselors are under ethical orders to report anyone who appears to represent a danger to themself or others), which is exceedingly rare,

or

2) commits a crime and is caught up in the penal system, and good luck with finding treatment there,*

or

3) their family commits them to residential mental health care.

I've been in this position, sadly, and turns out to be extremely difficult to commit an adult involuntarily. Mental oddities/acting out/vocal threats/aggressive poetry do not cut it. We tried 3 times and were only successful when we had direct evidence of the family member attempting suicide.

If you don't have insurance and/or can't afford a private health clinic, the conditions at most state-run mental health care institutions are not such that they inspire confidence in loved ones. It's devastating for families, whose connection to the mentally ill person might be on tenuous circumstances as it is. Nobody is harsher than a paranoid schizophrenic who sees threats everywhere. And all too often the person comes from bad family circumstances that only aggravated the illness to begin with.

One issue in the Aurora case is that this was a graduate student, for whom there is vastly less oversight. Unlike undergrads, universities don't feel responsible nor do they patrol in any way graduate students' lives off-campus.

*that said, I was reading an interesting report recently that interviewed folks who said they received much better health care in prison than out of it.


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RE: Threat Ignored

CP, that's what I thought may be the case. Additionally I suspect there are all types of legal restraints on what the psychiatrist can divulge.

It's not much different here. Universal healthcare is not a panacea. The issue is getting help to the mentally ill and/or confining them if they are dangerous. The police have neither the authority, nor the manpower, to deal with the mentally ill, even those that are potentially dangerous.

Much needs to be done in this area...it's damn scary.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 2, 12 at 15:13

Not true. The kid had not finished the paperwork to officially drop out of the school. He was officially a client of the mental health clinic of the University of Colorado not the individual therapist and not in her private practice. The University and actually any mental health professional has a "Duty To Warn" under the law. That means if they believe that the client is a threat to himself or others they are required by law as well as by the APA's ethical code of conduct to inform those they feel are threatened as well as the authorities. It would be difficult to prove they broke the law, though they well may have, but the university will be found negligent, they will be sued and they will settle with the families or go to trial and lose.


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RE: Threat Ignored

In early June, the PhD students at CU medical take a "preliminary exam". If you fail part of one, you're given a choice - continue on for a bit longer and get a masters degree, or drop out. Thats where you the the phrase "he chose to drop out".

This guy failed the oral part of his prelims, and the next day, began to buy the guns.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 6, 12 at 23:30

Well it seems the threat was not ignored, the psychiatrist did notify campus police ... see link.

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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RE: Threat Ignored

"This is a perfect reason to have universal health care... so people who need special help and treatment actually are able to receive it."

I don't know about that. If one is mentally ill, are they going to seek help? Do they even know they need it? If they do know they need help, won't they seek it out?
There is plenty of help for chemical dependencies, some of it free, and that problem is still widespread.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 7, 12 at 9:21

Glad she did notify. Obviously she saw him as a very serious threat if she broke confidentiality. It will be interesting to see this thing as it unravels because if she warned the police somebody surely dropped the ball.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 7, 12 at 9:32

They not only "dropped the ball", they kicked it to the curb and people died because of it.


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RE: Threat Ignored

While the psychiatrist did notify the police, what could they do? Holmes hadn't done anything. Even if they got an involuntary commitment, he'd be out in 3 days, and probably mad as hell.

Same for the guy in Wisconsin - he was on a couple of watch lists, but until he did something, there's not much that law enforcement can do, except keep watching.

The guy in Maryland who was arrested after threatening his co-workers and having an arsenal in his home - he's been charged with making a threatening phone call, a misdemeanor! His guns are legal and he committed no crime............yet.


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RE: Threat Ignored

No, universal health care is not a panacea... but it greatly reduces the un-affordability aspect, which is where many people here get stuck. Either treatment, medications, or treatment centers are not at all affordable... and the ball gets dropped, altogether.

Technically, there are so many patients with different illnesses that are either never diagnosed, diagnosed but left untreated, or the treatment is known but is not affordable, that all these people walk around suffering or untreated when it shouldn't be this way.

Affordable health care, including mental health, for all citizens would be a damn good place to start.


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RE: Threat Ignored

A seasoned psychiatrist told me that the people who need to see him are at home and the ones seeing him are there because of the ones at home.

And this doesn't point to the failure of the health care system. The failure comes when authorities fail to follow through with information about a person who is a possible risk.

FREE healthcare wouldn't have changed the failure.


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RE: Threat Ignored

I have an acquaintance who clearly has mental health issues, owns several guns, and spends his time discussing far right conspiracy theories and every anti-Obama anti-Liberal thing you've ever heard. He's violent, gets in fist fights, his business failed because nobody wanted to go near him.

I asked a friend who's a psychiatrist if there was anything anybody could do. The law in Colorado is that he has to come in himself for help - unless he gets arrested for something, at which point it can be court-ordered.

I then mentioned the guy to another friend who's a policeman. Who assured me that they were keeping an eye on him.

That doesn't exactly make me feel safe.


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RE: Threat Ignored

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 7, 12 at 14:53

Unless you have personally dealt with mental illness, you do not realize how difficult, if not impossible, it is to have a rational discussion with someone about their irrational behavior ... kind of like this forum some days :)

If you wanted every gun buyer to have a psychiatric exam the country would be "up in arms" literally.

Meanwhile, duck and roll.


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