Separation of church and psychology may seem like a strange topic, but considering recent developments in the state of Texas, it is a topic that must be addressed.
The governor of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, has decided to let the church dictate his views on mental health. The particular church using its influence in this way is Scientology.
Remember the Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields Debacle?
As many may already know, Scientology does not believe mental illness exists. This particular tenet of their faith became well known when Tom Cruise criticized Brooke Shields in 2005, for saying she had suffered from postpartum depression and had taken medication for her illness. Tom Cruise insulted her and caused quite a stir.
You can read about that argument at Today.com.
10 Years Later…
Meanwhile, fast forward to 2015, and dare to believe that we have a governor in the United States of America, who does not believe in mental illness or mental health treatments because a religious group has deemed it to be so.
This is all the proof one needs that religion should never be allowed to debate with science. It is ridiculous.
The particular bill that was vetoed in Florida would have allowed mental health intervention for those whom were deemed dangerous to themselves or to others, a much needed intervention that is needed all over this country.
I sense that many will disagree with this need, so please allow me to present a tiny piece of my argument for mental health intervention.
Could an intervention have helped in Arizona?
Gabby Giffords, then the congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in 2011 by a young man who needed an intervention. Instructors at the local college reported having arguments with him, people who had contact with him said he spoken of strange things and said he heard voices in his head. You can read about these findings at CBS News.
Our hands are tied.
You may or may not be aware that you cannot have someone like this arrested or committed until they commit an act warranting such action. This is a travesty of justice not only for potential victims of the mentally ill, but for the mentally ill themselves, who are also victims. People do not choose to be mentally ill.
Are Interventions Safe?
I agree that it is scary to think that someone could potentially report you as being mentally ill and then have the state government send a big white van to carry you away in a white straight-jacket.
This fear exists based on how things were done many decades ago. It would not have to be such a harrowing experience today, unless the person being committed was physically unmanageable – an assessment that should only be made by a licensed psychologist that is sent to pick up the potentially violent patient.
There are many safeguards that could be put in place today. A person’s medical records could be pulled, including a list of medications prescribed as well as taken (not all prescriptions get filled). The individual could also be run through the police database to see what, if any, violations and arrests might appear.
Here’s the bottom line – I would rather take the chance on an intervention. If the reports are accurate and the person in question is mentally ill, who knows how many lives may be saved by the intervention.
If the person is determined to be in good mental health, and a hoax was perpetrated against them, then the “hoaxter” should be arrested and prosecuted.
I find it more frightful to imagine an innocent person being shot down while in a movie theater, at a political rally, while shopping in a mall or while sitting in a classroom.
How do we stop churches from interfering with the safety of the public?
Under no conditions anywhere in this land of the free, should a church be allowed to have such an influence over a governor or any members of legislature or government at any level.
Any person advocating a denial of verifiable, evidence based science at the legislative level is putting their constituents at risk of violence perpetrated by a person needing medical attention and should be dismissed from their public service position immediately.
The mental health issue revolving around Governor Abbott of Texas is alarming, but that is not the only strange position he has taken on important issues. Read more about this and Greg Abbot at the Greenville Gazette.
Now in its sixth edition and recommended by therapists worldwide, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has been the unparalleled, essential resource for people struggling with anxiety and phobias for almost thirty years.