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Registry of People With Mental Illness January 27, 2011

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness.

I just heard something very scary from the lips of Mayor Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s new show.  Mayor Bloomberg  said  that we need a registry of people with mental illness so that we can keep them from buying guns.  This was his response to the recent Tucson shooting by a young man who is thought to be mentally ill (as far as I know, he doesn’t have a diagnosis).

Forcing people with a mental illness to register is beyond belief in the year 2011. I get chills down my spine just thinking about it.

From a practical standpoint, this new registry law, if implemented, would probably not catch the people it was designed to catch.  Although people like the Tucson shooter are known by the world at large to have bizarre behavior, they don’t have a diagnosis. They’ve managed to fly under the radar, at least until they do something horrible.

As part of my Least Restrictive Treatment contract (in order to leave the mental hospital), I had to agree not to own a fire arm. But that was supposed to be for my protection from suicide.  Never in a million years would I have believed that I would become a name on a mental illness register.

Who decides who belongs on the register?  Where’s the line in the sand? Do you need to have a diagnosis before registering? What kind of criteria will be used? Will people avoid getting a diagnosis because they don’t want to land on the register?  And most importantly, what else will the list be used for? All of these are legitimate questions that must be carefully considered before the list becomes a reality.

It’s a slippery slope.



1. Astrid - January 29, 2011

I agree with you. Although I can see the point that certain people with mental illness (and certain people without mental illness!) cannot care firearms, this proposed registry goes too far against someone’s privacy.

2. moodybpgirl - January 31, 2011

The media has been predictably cringe-worthy in light of the shooting. I’ve met a couple people who have- in the past- become homicidal under command hallucinations, but now they are properly diagnosed and on effective medications, and are no longer a threat to as long as they are able to continue their treatment regimen. Even because of my experience with major depression, my court appointed attorney told me the only time I would be legally obligated to disclose my commitment would be if I ever attempted to purchase a firearm. Yet there are times when the question still appears, like when applying for a driver’s license. People want to pigeonhole me as being a public threat because of my past commitment. But the irony is that having been in inpatient psychiatric treatment is a sign that a person is more likely to have been diagnosed and treated for his or her mental illness, which makes a person *less* of a threat, not more. So it’s just a failed policy, anyway.

Crazy Mermaid - February 3, 2011

Well said.

3. John Freeburg - January 31, 2011

My adult son (who is not a consumer) and I (a consumer)agree that in response to Tucson people must turn in people, including relatives and friends, who are acting crazy by not taking care of themselves, by being delusional (believing in their own fictional beliefs) or of being of danger to themselves or others. (Naturally, the criteria for being mentally ill is broader than this.)

These people need to be turned into private psychiatrists or ARNPs or to the publicly funded mental health clinics. Hospitals or increasingly triage centers are also available.

Instead of a registry, if people would just be willing to seek treatment for people who are distraught, much of this violence could be prevented. Silence can lead to violence.

4. ManicMuses - January 31, 2011

Another reason I chose to live in agony all of those years rather than be hospitalized and get the help I needed. Sigh. I can’t wait until I have to re-up on my driver’s license. If this trend continues, eventually there will be a mental illness check box on a library card application.

5. Epic FAIL: Mayor Bloomberg Calls for Mental Illness Registry « The Other Side of Madness - February 2, 2011

[…] mental illness stigma, montana state hospital, psychiatric problems registry, stigma) (Thanks to Crazy Mermaid for spotting […]

6. Francesca - March 2, 2011

I know I’m late to this post. Do you have a link about what Bloomberg said? While googling the topic is came across a link that said a federal law prohibits the mentally ill from owning guns. http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/mentally-ill-buy-guns-w_out-registering

7. Francesca - March 2, 2011

I’d also like to say the idea of turning in people does not sit well with me, especially as a woman. In the past women were institutiinalized as a way of silencing them. Believing in women’s rights was considered delusional. And what about the mentally ill who don’t have faniky? I don’t have any blood relatives left. Not to mention those who are alienated from their families. And there just aren’t the beds or money for this.

8. flast - December 21, 2012

Registries don’t work. We spend over $500,000,000 per year on the sex offender registry and the database is growing by leaps and bounds. Sex crimes are being completed by people NOT on the registry. It is creating an underclass incapable of finding employment or housing. What will it do to people with mental health issues?

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