Mental Illness

Many disputes and debates concerning mental illness have risen across the globe. The major concerned groups are the medical scientists as well as the social scientists, especially the psychologists. The various aspects of mental illness that have attracted much attention include: the need for its prevention, its causes, resulting behavior, and the rights of its victims. Because of the increasing public interest, the debate and cases of mental illness have been rampant in both the print and visual media across the world. This paper considers an article that had been written by Smith on the 11th of May 2012 on the situation in California.

The article “California’s mentally Ill people need early diagnosis not forced treatment”had been written by Smith on the 11th May 2012.It majorly discusses the challenges that are faced by the mentally ill in California. The article also presents the contents of Laura’s Law as the proposed solution which covers both the benefits and conditions to which the mentally ill are subjected in California. This write up will discuss the relevance of this article to the psychological principles, concepts, and treatments of such victims. It will also examine the various contrasts between psychological theories on common sense and the actual facts as presented in the article.

I specifically chose this Californian based article by Smith because it adequately covers all the issues that have been contentious about mental illness. Any reader will be attracted at the first glance of the paper because of the topic it covers. The title California’s mentally ill people need early diagnosis, not forced treatment clearly depicts the actual fact on the ground about the height of ignorance in the public domain on handling and treatment of the mentally ill as well as their plight not only in California but across the globe. First of all, the article reveals that the society has stopped putting much of its emphasis on preventing mental disorders and is instead implementing various reactive mechanisms against the mentally ill. The police, for example, have continued to misinterpret the actions of the victims of the illness, with some ending up being killed instead of being attended to.

The article notes a case in which 18-year-old Christian Chavez became a victim of public and police ignorance in terms of handling mentally ill in January 2012. It reports of an eye witness who was ignorant of the indications of mental illness and rushed to call the police instead of a psychiatric service after having witnessed a victim holding a knife in a dangerous position. The police being equally ignorant of the mental illness’ sings and the recommended cause of action in such a scenario simply shoot the victim dead. The question is, therefore, whether the victim really deserved this kind of death.

In another instance, Kelly Thomas, who was mentally ill, was also beaten up until he passed on in Fullerton in July 2011. The article indicates that this case resulted into a global weeping that compelled criminal charges on the involved police officers. Together with the killing of another victim, Mr. Aaron, these cases clearly depict the level of the society’s understanding and apprehension of mentally ill people. It points to the need for awareness creation right from the policy makers to the police and general public.

This confusion in the understanding of the mentally ill is also highlighted by the psychiatrists’ concepts of mental illness. The concept seems to agree with the comments of the civil groups in the article that are noted in terms of agitations towards the Laura’s Law. According to the psychiatrists, mental illness has the cognitive, biomedical, psychological as well as social dynamic, all of which require different but distinct approaches of intervention. This is in line with the contribution of various activists recorded in the article. Of the paramount importance, however, is the need for preventive measures instead of waiting and then reacting to situations that have already worsened. This, as the activists note, will be more effective as the victims will be attended to and will undergo the necessary treatment programs as recommended by the therapists and counselors.


In conclusion, the article has rightfully pointed out to the need for amendment of those laws that give states power over victims suffering from mental illness, like it was the case with Laura’s Law. The state should instead help the victims by allocating enough funds for their diagnosis and treatment. This will allow interventions prior to the worsening of the situation, making it more effective as the victims will willingly adhere to the programs provided in the course of treatment.

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