Local Leaders Call for Better Mental Healthcare

Published 12/18 2012 03:57PM

Updated 12/18 2012 07:47PM

FREDERICK, MD - Local leaders are looking for ways to treat mental health issues to prevent another mass shooting tragedy.

"I think for a number of years this has been an issue," says Delegate Michael Hough (R) of Washington and Frederick Counties. "But I think these recent rash of shootings with people that were mentally ill that carried them out, it's highlighting one of the problems in our society."

Hough plans to introduce a bill to create a task force and study the issue further.

With so many of these shootings in recent years, experts say there may be a "copycat" element for these troubled men.

"Someone sees something, and they're not doing it because they saw it, but if they're then experiencing a rage, they're saying 'OK well this is what's happened before and I know that then that's something I can do,'" says Pat Hanberry, CEO of the Mental Health Association.

One solution could be more education, especially for those who see a victim of mental illness and could interfere to stop an unthinkable event.

"There have been a couple of cases in these shootings where people were aware, usually it was because the person was really really quiet and a loner, and people were aware that something was going on but didn't reach out, didn't try to get the person connected to treatment and then it ended up in a tragedy," says Hanberry.

The Mental Health Association wants to ask the public to help anyone they know who may struggle with mental illness. They offer a "mental health first aid" class, and encourage everyone to sign up.

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