After the recent school shootings around the United States, questions are piling up in regards to gun violence correlating to mental health.
Boonville Psychologist Bonnie Riley said people who are bipolar and who are are diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia are more prone to hurt themselves or others.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health the symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders and movement disorders. The NIMH also stated these symptoms can come and go. Sometimes they are severe and at other times hardly noticeable, depending on whether the individual is receiving treatment.
NIMH states Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Furthermore the symptoms are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.
"A person with paranoid schizophrenia think people are out to get them and so they may get gun to protect themselves," Riley said.
She said individuals who have been diagnosed as bipolar tend to harm themselves rather than others. Furthermore, she has had clients who have showed evidence of doing harm to themselves as well.
When it comes to providing coverage for individuals with mental health, according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health's 2013 budget, it's expenditures will total $1,415,346,857.
Riley said unfortunately not enough is being done or spent.
"Mental health funding and insurance is far behind physical health funding. There are too many blocks and restrictions posed to individuals needing coverage for their illness," Riley said.
She said it is hard to find a psychiatrist who will accept medicaid, a form of insurance she said a majority of these individuals have.
Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver believes mental health and crime have a connection.
Crime will increase unless these certain individuals (mental health victims) do not find the help they need,” Welliver said.
To Riley, the best way to combat these illnesses is provide a good counseling opportunity and support system, which is a huge part of the healing process.
"These individuals also need access to certain medications, which is difficult because of the issues with medicaid funding," Riley said.
Riley said medicaid has many restrictions when dealing with mental health.
She continues to help people in need of someone to talk to but agrees something better needs to be done with current standards, especially regarding mental health.