Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Mental Health Focus

Today, President Barack Hussein Obama signed 23 Executive Orders regarding gun ownership and safety.

Here is the overview of these 23 orders provided by http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/01/16/read_president_obama_s_new_proposed_executive_orders_and_legislation_on.html


1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.


He is also still pursuing the following legislation, provided by
http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/01/16/read_president_obama_s_new_proposed_executive_orders_and_legislation_on.html


Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the "gun show loophole.")

Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.

Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.

Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.

Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.

End the freeze on gun violence research.

Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.

Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.

Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.



I notice that several of these orders and legislative proposals focus on mental health.  I do understand the desire to keep the general citizenry safe from those who are crazy psychopaths.

But I have also recently been following some serious changes in the mental health community.

Mental Health News reports concerning the 2013 publication, "This Mental Health Bible is being expanded to include so many minor disorders and conditions that nearly everyone in the world will be able to be diagnosed with some mental health condition."
http://mentalhealthnews.org/were-all-crazy-now/841796/

Bloomberg reports that even healthcare professionals are alarmed at this approach, "The draft is sparking a backlash among practitioners concerned the expanding mandate will increase the number of patients treated with drugs."
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-24/mental-illness-guidelines-that-expand-diagnosis-sparks-health-care-revolt.html

Mad in America, "a resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and abroad," shares this video. "Psychiatrist and author Allen J. Frances, former chair of the DSM-IV task force, outlines why he thinks the DSM-V will lead to millions of people being mislabeled with mental disorders in his lecture “Diagnostic Inflation: Does Everyone Have a Mental Illness?”"
http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/05/allen-j-frances-on-the-overdiagnosis-of-mental-illness/


On the surface these executive orders may seem vague and innocuous.  And many fully support keeping 'crazies' from having guns.

But when the powers that be redefine mental health so that EVERYONE can be diagnosed with a mental disorder....

Even without ANY legislation... the damage is already done.






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