UCC Shooting Emphasizes Need for a Better Mental Health System

UCC Shooting Emphasizes Need for a Better Mental Health System

Amanda Stewart, Editor

The shooting at Umpqua Community College last week is, sadly, just another one of the many tragic mass shootings that have occurred in America in recent times. Families, friends, and even President Barack Obama are mourning the death of the nine victims from this college in Roseburg, Oregon. This shooting reveals that there need to be many steps taken to improve our country’s mental health system. I think we need to do much more to help those who are living with mental health issues so we can prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

In this case, many of those who knew the shooter were concerned that he was withdrawn, angry and obsessed with guns. All of these things were potential signs that he needed help but yet were ignored by those closest to him. How many times will these tragedies have to happen before we change how we deal with those like the Umpqua gunman?

In almost every recent mass shooting, such as Sandy Hook (2012), Virginia Tech (2007) and UCC (2015), the perpetrator has taken innocent lives and then proceeded to take their own, showing that the gunman is clearly suicidal—and doesn’t want to die alone. The missed opportunities here are obvious, in that a better mental health care system could have perhaps helped to prevent some of these tragedies from occurring.

To put it simply, our country needs to do a much better job of working to identify, diagnose and treat those whose mental illness could lead them to commit acts of violence. However, this is much easier said than done, especially with a mental health system as broken as the current one in the United States today.

Whenever an event like this occurs, the issue of gun control inevitably arises. I don’t have too much to say on this topic, other than that I think we need to limit access to assault type weapons with clips that hold lots of bullets. However, I personally think that it is less about gun control and more about identifying and treating people with mental health issues.

Just a few of the steps that must be taken to improve the mental health system include educating the public so they know what poor mental health looks like and how those affected can be helped. There should also be a network of support groups and places for people who are suffering to go when they need help. Finally, the government needs to provide significantly more funding in order for all of these steps to be taken.

Until the mental health system can be improved, tragedies like this one at Umpqua Community College will sadly continue to happen. It is our nation’s responsibility to help those suffering with mental illness, so that we can put an end to the all-too-routine loss of innocent lives.