Mental health now part of gun discussion

Local psychologist weighs in on approach, consequences


When it comes to gun control, the mental health issue has taken it's place in the discussion.

A local psychologist, for one, is pleased that there is a focus on mental health when it comes to guns.

"Obviously, it's a big part of the mass shootings that have occurred and we have to begin to address it," said Dr. John Reid, a clinical and forensic psychologist.

One way President Barak Obama wants it addressed has to do with background checks.

"A very early stage of this is trying to determine what sorts of background checks are going to be required, if that comes into play at the federal level,"  Reid said.

Reid said mental health background checks won't be the same as criminal checks.

"It starts to become a little touchier when you try to make differentiations about the mental health issues that could limit someone's judgment in some way in usage of a gun," Reid said.

And there could also be some negative consequences for people who are seeking help and that includes privacy concerns for some.

Reid said while those are complicated issues, one place that can be focused on is bullying.

"We have some anti-bullying approaches that are getting some wide usage," said Reid, and added," "they haven't gone as far as I think they can and that is certainly one area I think is very ripe for us to look at more careful. "

One of the executive orders the president signed allows doctors to reveal information about a patient concerning violence to law enforcement, something Reid said is already in place.

"What my rights are, and what my duties are, with regards to providing some sort of warning in that circumstance," he said.

Just the discussion of mental health in regards to guns is "probably something that has to happen," Reid said.

About the Author: