It’s fascinating to me that the director of NIMH should post on his blog that getting people off anti-psychotic medication may actually help them:
Especially right as the news is filled with the story of someone who was schizophrenic– Aaron Alexis reported that he was hearing voices– committing a mass shooting. But the most tragic point, for me, is that there was another incident where someone with a major problem was overlooked by the health care system. The news suggests that Aaron Alexis was going through problems that were very obvious:
So what can anyone do? First of all, despite high profile cases like this one, remember that people with mental illness are more likely to become victims than to hurt others. When someone we know starts to become emotionally unpredictable, it can be scary, and everyone should take care for their own safety first– of course. But if someone you know starts to act like they may need mental health care— or if you yourself start feeling very much at war with yourself, as Mr. Alexis seems to have been, mental health care can help. If it’s you, talk to your primary care doctor or call a help line. If it’s a friend, encourage them to get help– even help them to get help. The reports on Mr. Alexis suggest that, at his best, he was a good man. With some help, he might be alive today, as well as the 13 people he shot– and he might still be a nice guy. We can only wonder.