60 Minutes, 9/29/2013

I don’t own a television, or even a radio.  So when I heard, a bit on the late side, that 60 Minutes had run a program alleging that most of the mass murders and much violent crime is committed by untreated mentally ill people, I looked it up and watched it.  Here it is.  I’d like to hear what you think about this.

60 Minutes on Mental Illness and Violent Crime

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  1. I’m hesitant to comment (but not too scared)! I will first say that I do tend to have views that many people do not like. I have recently been called a racist, because of my choice in Salvation Army ads, because a white hand was giving to a black hand. There were other choices like young gives to old & brown male hand gives to womans hand. All are stigma if you seek it. IMO all of these situations do happen. Old can give to young also, but why is it when it’s the other way, which does frequently happen, it is racist or a stigma? In general, I do feel that many people seek out stigma, prejudice, and racism too quickly and judge the topic too quickly. Unless the situation can never happen, ie, mentally ill people never shoot others, people will think there can be a possibility that a shooter may be mentally ill. It’s when people jump to the conclusion that he ‘had to be mentally ill’ is when I think it’s a problem, as that is assumption not fact.

    • Really interesting. You are a great observer! I don’t have a TV so I don’t get the opportunity to see these subliminal messages that you are revealing here. Good job. You should write on this topic, if you haven’t yet.

      This segment seems to hone in on people with schizophrenia specifically. I think this is dangerous because at one time (in the “bad old days” when the mentally ill were warehoused) the mentally ill had their rights completely stripped, and were medicated against their will, and became zombies like you see in the short film clip with the poor guy suffering from Tardive Dyskenesia, a side effect from certain drugs, is staggering along looking like he was born with Cerebral Palsy, which I bet you dollars to donuts he was not.

      • What was done to the mental ill in the past was horrible. Horrible!
        I couldn’t get the video to run, but I read the transcript. I think more people need to know what the doctor said about some forms of mental illness, it’s a brain disease. I may be reaching here, but I think if people think of mental illness as a physical disorder (of the brain), maybe they’d understand it’s not an option to the mentally ill to just talk to someone or just take a pill. The brain is a vast world of variables. Anything can happen up there! I hope I didn’t just taste my shoe….

        • Hmm, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “it’s not an option to the mentally ill to just….” Who are the mentally ill you’re referring to? That moniker can cover everybody from people with anxiety, across the spectrum to people who can’t function without help on a daily basis. What other treatments/modalities do you feel would be helpful?

          • BTW there’s NEVER a “shoe-tasting” question on here. The whole idea is to learn together, to exchange ideas and share our thoughts. So don’t worry about that!

          • I was trying to say (in my early AM – only 1 cup of joe status) is that sometimes it’s not easy to treat mental illnesses because of the vastness of the human brain (including misdiagnosis, denial, wrong RX…). Some people are helped with a pill, some people need more, some people don’t know they need help. My point, is that maybe if people can think of mental illness as a physical brain disease instead of a ‘personality’ (term used loosely) disease there would be more empathy / less stigma? I guess my point turned into a question. Opps.
            I don’t have any other treatment/modalities that would be helpful. I was just thinking out loud.

            • Very good thinking. You’re 100% correct on all accounts. Mental illness IS a physical brain disease–even when it’s caused by external forces, like PTSD–brain imaging like PET and fMRI show that permanent structural changes happen in the brain. That’s why it’s so hard to treat people suffering from severe trauma. What’s interesting to me is the resilience factor, which seems to be genetic. For instance, some people can come out of a horribly abusive childhood, or a bloody war, with a positive outlook and no sign of damage. Other people are much more sensitive and easily damaged–not so unlike plants, right? We have our hardy ones that we can leave outside all winter, and our tender ones that you almost have to bring inside at night on cool nights in the summer 🙂

  2. Terri

     /  November 11, 2013

    Hum, sponsored by Pfizer I see. But yes, we need to be treated, I agree.

  3. Nothing like a woman’s antenna to Catch this!!…..LOL….I actually seen the segment, and I agree with Laura as they seemed to hammer in towards on those with high Mania & schizoprhrenia, but still the Stigma was still a bit evident. It also PROVES that many Mentally ill are still falling threw the cracks of getting properly Diagnosed and treatment! I say this because I went YEARS undiagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder with manic depression. SO MUCH more work needs to be done! Catherine

    • Absolutely. The segment about Cook County Jail was particularly horrifying to me, because it truly represents the fact that our seriously mentally ill are NOT getting the treatment they desperately need, and are ending up on the streets as a result, having to resort to petty crime in order to merely have a place to sleep and what to eat.

      • VERY TRUE Laura……It is getting worse to not better. I also feel Law Enforcement need MORE Training on how to deal with the mentally ill, as they come across daily, and I have seen some pretty “CRAPY” abuse from the LAW to these homeless & ill. That is another area that needs to be addressed. Catherine

        • One hundred percent, Catherine. I can’t get that video out of my mind, the one where the schizophrenic man was tazered at a major airport because he had some involuntary movements due to his meds that the TSA interpreted as threatening. The whole time his mother was standing by helplessly screaming to the TSA that he was ill, he was not trying to hurt anyone; and the man himself was screaming “Don’t taze me, don’t taze me!” The man died of cardiac arrest. Of course there was a big lawsuit but it didn’t go anywhere: slap on the hand, they had to take a course about “the mentally ill,” and things go on as usual.

  4. I saw this a couple weeks ago and signed the petition.

    We spend a lot of time focusing on the minority groups that commit crimes. When a white rich guy commits a crime we don’t like at what it is about being white and rich that makes you violent but when it comes to being of colour, being poor or having a mental health issue we focus solely on that and blanket everyone! Yes, it’s important to acknowledge that for many people there are factors that put them at risk for engaging in violent crime but very rarely is it portrayed in such a way that viewers can walk away thinking that the problem is society and not the person.

  5. Sorry Laura. Nothing to add, but wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading the discussions. An interesting and complex topic for sure!

  6. I think it was an interesting segment. I could see both positives and negatives. Positives in highlighting the need for more help and concern, and for highlighting that it is something you can suddenly develop and to make it seem a little less like mentally ill people are “the others”. In its focus on the link between mentally ill people and crimes, I find that both negative and positive because it highlights that maybe if we had better support for mentally ill people maybe crime rates would diminish, but I don’t like the suggestion that all mentally ill people are completely unstable and likely to commit crimes. And it was very focused on schizophrenia but did use the mental illness bracket a lot, which sorta neglected the vast majority of mental illnesses out there and the differences between them. But compared to the sort of stories I’m use to seeing on 60 minutes here in Australia, it was pretty even handed and wasn’t as negative as I would have expected. That’s my take anyway.


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