Excerpt from: Huffington Post (click for full article)
While psychotic symptoms, volatile emotions and impulsive behavior increase the potential for violence, the majority of floridly psychotic or deeply enraged people don't hurt others, and both conditions respond well to treatment with medication and specific forms of therapy. Identifying mentally ill people and providing accessible treatment is key to reducing violence.
The world would no doubt be safer if fewer people had easy access to automatic weapons. Registries of persons with criminal and mental illness histories have been proposed but are costly, questionably effective and, for mentally ill persons, discriminatory. What is abundantly clear is that our first line of defense against what just happened in Connecticut, and not that long ago in Colorado, Arizona and West Virginia, is a mental health care system that is pro-active, widely available and fully accessible.
The lowest-hanging fruit to prevent these mass shootings is the adoption of final rules for a bill that was passed and signed into law almost five years ago: the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act. The actual implementation of this law, combined with the anticipated effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would dramatically improve access to mental health care across the country, and in so doing lower the stigma that often prevents people who need help from seeking it, or sticking with treatment.