The Mental Illness Dilemna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Mental Illness Dilemna
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Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:51am

Advocates for the mentally ill are faced with a deep dilemma each time extreme and deadly crimes are perpetrated by those with a mental illness. Obviously, such acts are not sane or normal; it beggars common sense to suggest that a person who is thinking straight would choose to kill or wound dozens of strangers. And yet most mentally ill people — even those with conditions that have been linked to violence, such as addictions and schizophrenia — are no threat to anyone other than themselves.

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For the mentally ill, who might be seen as canaries in this coal mine, stigma serves to wall them off from the social support and medical care that are necessary to spur recovery and prevent illness from leading to tragedy. As a society, we need to understand that risk does not equal destiny — and that believing it does is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease or even to appreciate its association with violence, but to view people with schizophrenia as hopeless can in some cases worsen their course unnecessarily.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/31/mass-murder-and-mental-illness-the-interplay-of-stigma-culture-and-disease/?iid=hl-article-mostpop1#ixzz22J3U2hHn

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 2:43pm

Having said that, I think our justice system is terribly flawed when a jury does determine sombody innocent by reason of insanity, When somebody - mentally ill OR not - crosses that line they should be tried the same way, JMO.. 

Mental illness alone does not constitute legal insanity or any type of insanity really.

Someone may be depressed, which is a mental illness, but that doesn't make them insane, but some people confuse the two. Therefore, society looks at all people claiming to be depressed, as being insane or making excusing.

 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:14pm

I think our justice system is terribly flawed when a jury does determine sombody innocent by reason of insanity, When somebody - mentally ill OR not - crosses that line they should be tried the same way, JMO..  I think we remove a stigma when we stop excusing it,

I agree that our justice system is terribly flawed, but the not guilty by reason of insanity defense has truly pathetic statistics. The chances of it working are minuscule. "Attempts to use the insanity defense as an excuse" happens a lot on TV, but in real life it is both rare and ineffective.

Successful NGRI defenses are rare. While rates vary from state to state, on average less than one defendant in 100—0.85 percent— actually raises the insanity defense nationwide. Interestingly, states with higher rates of NGRI defenses tend to have lower success rates for NGRI defenses; the percentage of all defendants found NGRI is fairly constant, at around 0.26 percent.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:19pm

Mental illness alone does not constitute legal insanity

I am always surprised by the numbers of people who think that there is a direct relationship between "mental illness" and "insanity". In fact the two have only a peripheral relationship.

The US Court system, police and the criminal justice system are not designed to handle people with mental illness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:33pm

: THE INSANITY DEFENSE

• What are the legal standards for insanity?

Each state, and the District of Columbia, has its own statute setting out the standard for determining whether a defendant was legally insane, and therefore not responsible, at the time his crime was committed. In general, the standards fall into two categories.

About half of the states follow the "M'Naughten" rule, based on the 1843 British case of Daniel M'Naughten, a deranged woodcutter who attempted to assassinate the prime minister. He was acquitted, and the resulting standard is still used in 26 states in the U.S.: A defendant may be found not guilty by reason of insanity if "at the time of committing the act, he was laboring under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong." (emphasis added) This test is also commonly referred to as the "right/wrong" test.

Twenty-two jurisdictions use some variation of the Model Standard set out by the American Law Institute (A.L.I.) in 1962. Under the A.L.I. rule, a defendant is not held criminally responsible "if at the time of his conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law." (emphasis added) The A.L.I. rule is generally considered to be less restrictive than the M'Naughten rule.

Some states that use the M'Naughten rule have modified it to include a provision for a defendant suffering under "an irresistible impulse" which prevents him from being able to stop himself from committing an act that he knows is wrong.

Three states -- Montana, Idaho, and Utah -- do not allow the insanity defense at all

: COMPETENCY TO STAND TRIAL

• What's the difference between competency to stand trial and the insanity defense?

Competency to stand trial hinges on a defendant's current mental state at the time of trial. It is generally a low-level standard that requires merely that a defendant understands the proceedings against him -- that he is being tried for a crime, and the relative roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge -- and be able to assist his attorney in his defense. The low standard reflects the attempt to provide as many people as possible a day in court, while excluding those individuals who are so sick as to be completely unable to comprehend the proceedings or to assist their attorneys. There is a common misperception that if an individual is found incompetent, it is the same as being found not guilty. In reality, if the defendant is deemed incompetent, there is no trial, and no conviction or acquittal.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/crime/trial/faqs.html#gbmi

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:41pm

I truly believe Mental illness is family disease too, I may be rare but when my kid had/s a problem I look at what I can do diffrerent,

Mental illness has a strong genetic component, so yes it does run in families. There are some worthy new studies that show the effects of long term childhood stress on adult well-being. That said the old-fashioned idea that parenting causes mental illness no longer holds water.

I think a lot can be done to help families cope with mental illness, but with the exception of certain diagnoses, PTSD for one, mental illness is not caused by other people's behavior or poor parenting.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:44pm

Yeah, the Main Stream Media acts as if zillions of people "get off", but it's not the case.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:59pm

Sorry you don't understand.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 8:40pm

Post tramatic stress disorder PTSD, by definition, requires a stress or trauma. Many people in the Aurora theater will probably have to deal with symptons. The shooter's behavior caused or triggered the PTSD. It is conceivable that a parent could cause PTSD.

However, with disorders such as ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and the vast majority of mental illnesses, parenting isn't going to cause or trigger the disorder. All a parent can do is help a child cope with symptoms and behaviors.

It is really a terrible burden that parent's have to carry that some people will see their child's disability and think to themselves, "What wrong with the parents?" It definitely compounds the stress and stigma of mental illness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 8:40pm

  PSTD  is the acronym for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I think it is very easy to see the connection to it and other peoples behavior.  It is other peoples behavior that causes the stress. 

 The most common cause of it is of course war but there are other things that can cause it.  There will probably be some in the Colorado theater shooting that will have to deal with it to some degree.   It was caused completely by someone else's behavior, the shooter. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 6:59am

 Exactly and both of those are caused by other's behavior.   Someone else blew up those bodies, someone else shot us that theater.  The stress is a direct result of what someone else does. 

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