In light of what I’m called Death Friday….

I am sure many are quite aware of the 20 children that were killed in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday, as well as the six adults. In China 22 children were stabbed outside of their school, also happening yesterday morning. No motive was given for the stabbings, which echo a string of similar assaults against schoolchildren in 2010 that killed nearly 20 and wounded more than 50. The most recent such attack took place in August, when a knife-wielding man broke into a middle school in the southern city of Nanchang and stabbed two students before fleeing.

Now I, like many have heard time and time again how we absolutely MUST ban all firearms but I unlike some believe that is not the best thing we can do. Many love to bring up the fact that the United Kingdom has a ban on guns and their statistics in violence has improved, same to be said with China.

One thing I have learned in just one term of Anthropology is that America is culturally different from China and yes even UK. So what works for them or any other country isn’t necessarily going to work for any other country, especially not one who love their guns and have it written in their Constitution that they have the right to bare arms.

I will be among the first to agree that we need to step up and look at this seriously, but not as we have been doing–obviously because we have had 10 school shootings in our entire history so something isn’t working. How about the fact that every person out there is looking at the gun side of these shootings, and the media is making celebrities out of the shooters? That clearly isn’t working so here’s what I think we should do, and feel free to disagree with me, but it’s not going to stop just because you wish it would or because you take away our guns. And quickly, none of this comes from the fact I like many own a gun, even if I didn’t have it I’d still believe as I do.

Instead of focusing on the fact that a gun was used, since we are all intelligent people here and know that GUNS don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people, let’s instead focus on the fact that each of these shooters, EACH one was KNOWN to have a mental illness. This also includes shootings that don’t take place at schools. Go ahead, research it. I would love it for someone to stop being lazy and just going with the crowd and actually find out if the crap about violence statistics are actually true or like many things, crap.

These people needed help and was not given this help. Adam Lanza actually tried to buy guns on Tuesday but was denied. So in that instance something was working correctly. But, until we find out more on Adam besides the assumptions of the media who never ever help in these situations (sometimes they help create the problems) there is nothing that can be said. Still we are hearing of rumors and people’s opinions. They all say what we are so used to hearing about shooters: “I could never imagine he would do such a thing.” I am sure the people who knew Jeffery Donner said the same thing.

Thankfully with the Affordable Care Act  Mental health care will become more accessible to more people. With the passage of the federal mental health parity law a few years ago, many (but not all) insurers were required to treat mental disorders with the same coverage limits as any other disease or health concern. While this has helped many people obtain needed treatment without having to jump through as many insurance company hoops, it hasn’t really mattered much to the poor — who didn’t have insurance coverage in the first place.

With more people obtaining either private insurance or joining an expanded Medicaid program, the bet is that more people will have inexpensive access to mental health treatment.

People won’t be denied coverage based upon their pre-existing condition. This is huge for many people with mental health concerns. Changing employers or insurance providers often meant having to pretend that a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis didn’t exist. The new law says that you can’t discriminate against a person because of a pre-existing condition. This means that more people will get the care they need and have it covered by their insurance plan.

It also means an insurance plan can’t cancel your coverage for a pre-existing condition, something that was problematic for many in the past.

People will get better overall care. The law is designed to help increase incentives to physicians and other health and mental health professionals to look after people across the entire continuum of care — holistically, not just Patient X presenting with Z symptoms. It’s also focused on preventative care, which can help keep a person out of the hospital.

Research suggests that this sort of integrated, coordinated care is ultimately beneficial to the patient. It can help catch health issues before they become more serious concerns. It can also ensure that if a person gets a life-threatening diagnosis, they’re also seen by a professional for their emotional health needs.

Medication coverage gap in Medicare remains filled. If you’re a senior and enrolled in Medicare, the law has already helped save on your prescriptions. With the high cost of many psychiatric prescriptions, the law helped cut the amount a person pays for their name-brand drugs by half when they were in the “donut hole” (between $2,930 and $4,700 in total prescription costs).

This helps to ensure that seniors who need their psychiatric medications can continue to afford to take them.

Much of the law will be implemented in pieces over the next five to 10 years, but some components of the law are already in place. These components include insurance companies being forbidden to put a lifetime limit on the amount of health care dollars they spend on any single individual, and insurance companies being forbidden to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.

That’s the Obamacare plan ladies and gentlemen, and I firmly believe this is where the answer begins.

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