Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gun Control? How About Mental Health?

Gun control is obviously an important topic right now in the United States.

Guns should be banned, because only countries with guns have violence.

Um, wait, that's not true.

Okay, guns should be banned because guns obviously make violence worse.

Wait, this isn't necessarily true, either.

Then violent video games are to blame. Because the United States is the only country that allows violence in video games.

And we're the only country with violent movies.

(Please tell me you all can hear the sarcasm in my tone of writing.)

I'm not saying guns should be handed out like candy. I'm just saying that a lot of people's arguments are bullshit; it's more about pushing their own agendas than really helping the average person.

Right now, I'm writing this blog post with a splitting headache because I haven't gotten much sleep lately. Why? Suddenly, this year, my insurance won't cover the pill I take to help me sleep at night.

Not that sleep is important. Lack of sleep doesn't cause physical ailments, and it certainly doesn't cause any kind of debilitating mental health issues.

My insurance also won't cover my Wellbutrin prescription anymore. The medication I've been on for years to help with mood disorders.

Of course, therapy is a much better way to treat mental health problems, but it's expensive and time-consuming. My health insurance doesn't cover psychiatrists or psychologists or therapy at all. It's my primary physician who works with me on this.

I wish mental health coverage were as easy to get as, I don't know, let's say… a gun? I could walk out and buy a gun right now, easy as pie. But my health insurance won't help me get the mental health care I need, that my doctors tell them I need.

Why am I paying for insurance if they won't listen to my doctors? What is the point of health coverage if it doesn't cover what a person needs to function?

It is cheaper and easier to get a gun than it is to get mental health care.

Soldiers—people with weapons training—come back from combat with PTSD. These people fought for our country, fought for our government, and our government helps them how much? I don't know what the statistics are, but I think the American public is lucky that these soldiers would usually rather commit suicide than shoot up a public place. Sucks for the soldiers and their families, though.

Some celebrities admit to struggling with depression. Struggling. These are people with money and connections. If they struggle with mental health disorders, what chance does the average person have?

My health insurance didn't even notify me that they would no longer be covering my medication this year, because they didn't have to. This health insurance isn't free or anything; I pay them. Money. More of it than they deserve, obviously.

I don't always function very well. Things like finding a new insurance company to cover me are so frustrating and stressful that I usually curl up into a ball rather than complete the task. I'm lucky that I have people in my life who care enough about me to help me out with these things.

What was my point?

I guess the most important thing to take away from this blog post is the knowledge that people in good mental health don't walk into schools or movie theaters and shoot up innocent people. A person can own fifty guns, watch nothing but violent movies, and play first-person shooters all day long, and still, that is not an indicator that the person may ever kill even one other human being.

But then there's that person who doesn't get the help they need… Do they own a gun? It doesn't matter. They'll find a way to get one, or they'll find a different weapon. Homemade explosives can be made with easily accessible materials. Even a car in the wrong hands can kill a lot of people. Or maybe they'll just strangle their children; you don't even need a license to have kids.

Perhaps America should look beyond the symptoms and try to treat the underlying cause. Amputating a limb is no good if you keep throwing venomous snakes at a person.

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