In the aftermath of the tragedy in Arizona, I watched as the portrait of Jared Loughner, the alleged assailant, began to emerge. It was predictable and painful. Another young man, whose gradual psychological deterioration appeared to have been recognized but apparently not treated, had allegedly erupted in a horrifying display of violence.
Although it doesn't require a professional to recognize that Loughner appeared to be seriously disturbed, those of us who work in the mental health field are more likely than most to understand the troubling reality about treatment: Even with clear signs of psychosis, it is very difficult to force someone to get help.
The story of Jared Loughner makes me think about a much earlier killing involving a student: California's landmark Tarasoff case, which led to a critical change in how mental health professionals deal with violent patients.
Read the rest on AOL News.
By the way, Gina Misiroglu of Red Room put me in touch with the AOL people, which is one of the great ways in which she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.
Causes Blair Kilpatrick Supports
Louisiana Folk Roots, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Habitat for Humanity/Musician's Village New Orleans, Doctors Without Borders