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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why a 'just do something' stance on gun violence can lead to more harm

Some people have warned against a just do something attitude on gun violence.

Their warnings should be heeded - even as we must continue pushing forward to real solutions. I don't know if the fears in the story below will turn out to be true or hyperbolic, but that's why what we do needs to be thoroughly examined. That's what I'm hoping will result from the Biden group.

New York gun law may discourage mental health therapy for those who need it

From the piece:

The law requires therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient's gun permit and seizing any guns.

In interviews Tuesday, one expert called the new law meaningless and said he expects mental health providers to ignore it, while others said they worry about its impact on patients.

Dr. Paul Appelbaum at Columbia University said the prospect of being reported to local mental health authorities and maybe the police might discourage people from revealing thoughts of harm to a therapist, or even from seeking treatment at all.

"The people who arguably most need to be in treatment and most need to feel free to talk about these disturbing impulses, may be the ones we make least likely to do so," said the director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia. "They will either simply not come, or not report the thoughts that they have."

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