[Patti] Sacher’s frustrations with the mental health care system in this country are typical. It’s a system nearly everyone agrees is fragmented, inadequate, and offers little help until someone reaches a crisis ”“ and often not even then.
Now, after a succession of shooting massacres ”“ by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.; Jared Loughner in Tucson, Ariz.; James Holmes in Aurora, Colo.; and John Zawahri in Santa Monica, Calif. ”“ the mental health care system is in the limelight to a degree it hasn’t been in decades. In the case of Mr. Lanza, who killed 27 people, including 20 first-graders and his mother, before killing himself, there isn’t much conclusive known about his mental-health history ”“ and what information there is doesn’t explain what might have caused him to commit such violence. It is clear he was troubled, and the shooting sparked a massive outcry over the need for better treatment for the mentally ill.
President Obama called for a national conversation on mental health and sponsored a one-day conference on the issue in June, calling for more help for young people and veterans, in particular, and saying it’s time to “[bring] mental illness out of the shadows.”