Gun Violence Sparks Mental Health Conversation - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Gun Violence Sparks Mental Health Conversation


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - While violent video games take the spotlight in Washington Friday, another part of the puzzle is mental health. Now talk is underway to try to prevent mass shootings, such as has occurred in Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.

The gun violence across the country is sparking conversation among local mental health care professionals. It's caused Lansing's Care Free Medical Center officials to consider asking patients a new question...

"We don't typically ask about, 'do you have firearms in the home or do you carry or anything like that.' Is that something we should be addressing?" asked Lisa Saltman, the behavioral health director at Care Free Medical.

Robert Sheehan, the Executive Director of the Community Mental Health Authority, a state-funded department serving the tri-county area, says the discussion of violence sparked by mental health conditions has been a concern of theirs for years.

"You mix a culture of violence, access to guns, a mental health need, and you've got an explosive mix," said Sheehan. "The estimate is 5-10 percent of our population has some sort of mental health condition at one time."

Since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, the governor has called on the Department of Community Health to partner with other state agencies to make sure professionals who work with kids are trained properly.

"It means mental health professionals need to make sure we're training schools, teach law enforcement how to identify at-risk conditions, not to wait until they escalate."

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