Debating mental health legislation after Newtown massacre


The massacre last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut galvanized the national conversation on gun control, but that wasn’t all. Family stories of shooter Adam Lanza’s mental health struggles – on the heels of mental health histories for gunmen in recent massacres in Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona, and Virginia Tech – have policymakers and politicians contemplating anew how people with mental health conditions are treated, cared for, monitored and kept from harming themselves and others. But specific proposals stemming from the Newtown massacre have prompted much concern in the mental health profession and community – including President Obama’s call to expand access to counseling for kids and young adults and requiring healthcare plans to cover mental health services, as well as a New York State law broadening a requirement for professionals to report potentially harmful behavior in their patients. Joining guest-host MAIKEN SCOTT, who when she’s not hosting Radio Times is WHYY’s Behavioral Health reporter, are Temple University’s MARK SALZER, chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities; BRIAN STETTIN, policy director for Treatment Advocacy Center and one of the authors of New York’s assisted outpatient treatment law, called “Kendra’s Law;” and JOSEPH ROGERS, chief advocacy officer of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, an accomplished advocate who has firsthand experience with a mental health condition.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

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