Gun control plans include mental health measures

TULSA - Mental health experts hope the gun control debate shines a light on the stigma of mental illness and spurs change.

The president's proposals on gun control will affect more than just those who own weapons, reaching into doctors offices and research labs.

READ: 'Obama unveils gun control measures' (http://bit.ly/Obamagunlaw)

Since the Connecticut school shooting, Mike Brose, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, has worried about the stigma of mental illness.  

"It feels to us, as mental health advocates, that somehow people affected by mental illness are somehow being blamed, or it's being projected that they should be blamed," Brose said.  

One in four American adults suffer from a mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

"While we have a lot of high quality mental health care services in OK and around the country, there aren't enough," Brose said.

Today, President Obama reminded mental health experts to question patients about guns in their homes, if necessary -- and to report any credible threat a patient makes to law enforcement.

Brose says in his experience that rarely happens.

"That's a part of the code of ethics ... to protect the privacy of the people they work with and serve," he said.

Brose says a renewed focus on preventative measures could go a long way.

"I think the worry that we have is that in time, we'll drift back and lose interest, we'll move on to something else," Brose said. "And that it happens again, and we're right back here, having the same conversation over and over again."

Obama gave the go-ahead for researchers to study gun violence again. He also plans to increase funding for mental health services.
    

    
 

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