Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Mental Health is Everyone’s Business"

Mental Health is Everyone’s Business: Historical Reflections on the Virginia Tech Shootings

I don't watch much (if any, really) television news, and I haven't read a newspaper in months, so I spared myself of the non stop data/speculation orgy that was going on right after the killings at Virginia Tech. I guess, actually, that I took in as much as I could that first day, and when I realized some of the facts about the case, I made a decision to not seek out more information.

In other words, I got enough information to know that I wasn't going to get any more.

However, I have listened when people who know about this kind of thing speak (or in the case of the linked article, write). This Tuesday on Democracy Now there was an interesting interview with Katherine Newman, a Princeton faculty member and author of a book on the social origins of school shootings.

In reading the article I link to above (written by Heather Munro Prescott, a professor of history and author of a book on student health services), I was reminded that having andadmitting to mental health problems can be detrimental to your school career. Sigh.* Until recently there weren't any really noticable repercussions in my life in general (from disclosing my mental health history), but when it rained, it poured. I'm glad that there are mechanisms in place at my institution of higher learning to help me and not harm me.

As an aside, there was also a great segment on the NRAs lobbying to get guns onto college campuses and school grounds. Freaky stuff. Those people are really nuts.

*You know, there is a point where I stop and think "someone might think I am somehow defending the shooter in Virginia", and then I reject that thought, because if a person extrapolates that from what I have written they are really stretching things. I'm learning (but obviously, still doing so) to say what I mean and not have to qualify everything.


concerned heart said...

I wonder if you have noticed that no one, writes about what probably caused the severe illness/disorders that the gunman suffered from.
He couldn't speak, he didn't have a friend, he was completely strange, why? It is well known by researchers that advancing paternal age and autism and schizophrenia are strongly associated. Seung-hui Cho's father was 38 or 39 when he was born. A man's sperm making cells begin rapidly accumulate mutations in DNA around 33-35.Cho's father was not successful to begin with. Childhood schizophrenia is now called autism, since 1994.

Mental illness that is paternal age related, autism/schizophrenia is very profitable for pharmaceutical companies and researchers, and psychiatrists etc. We should know/learn that cryobanking sperm in ones mid 20s to 30 would prevent more people like Seung-hui Cho, if men stopped fathering babies past 33 except with banked sperm.

LavaLady said...

This is really comment spam, in my opinion, but its so strange it stays.

I'd never heard that "advanced paternal age" was a cause of autism and schizophrenia. Nor that autism is really childhood schizodisorder all dressed up. Color me sceptical there.

Although I think I can guess where the idea of 38 as an 'advanced' age comes from, I disagree with the assumption that 38 years of age is too old to father children.

As I mention in the post I haven't read a lot about the shooter in this case, but I was under the impression that he had not been diagnosed with any schizo related anything.