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Trib editorial: Disarming dangerous minds begins with treatment |

Trib editorial: Disarming dangerous minds begins with treatment


More challenging than simply addressing the availability of guns after another mass shooting is consideration of the troubled mind-set that ultimately pulls the trigger.

How often have we heard of mass shooters who simply fall through the cracks — someone distinguished by bizarre, even alarming, behavior who remains, in many ways, off the radar.

Legislation unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania House last year and now before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would make it easier for family members and mental-health professionals to get treatment for people struggling with mental illness before they become a threat to themselves or others, according to its sponsor, Rep. Thomas P. Murt, R-Montgomery County. Currently in Pennsylvania, to be remanded for mental-health evaluation and treatment, one must be deemed a “clear and present danger,” Mr. Murt says.

House Bill 1233 creates what Murt calls a continuum of services for persons seriously mentally ill who are unwilling (or unable) to seek treatment. It allows family members and mental-health professionals to intervene sooner in non-criminal, non-punitive outpatient treatment of individuals struggling with mental illness.

“We should not have to wonder (after a mass shooting); we ought to have made treatment accessible, regardless,” Murt writes for PennLive.

Getting mental-health treatment for just one potential mass shooter is reason enough to advance this legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

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