Dr. Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. is a respected, board-certified, practicing integrative psychiatrist who has worked in the past “in the trenches” in a regional state psychiatric hospital and in local county mental health center systems in North Carolina as well as in community hospital settings. She has done both inpatient and outpatient work with the seriously mentally ill. Dr. Latz received her bachelor degree in Biology from Wake Forest University, a masters degree in Immunobiology from Georgetown University, and her medical degree from Wake Forest University Medical School/Bowman Gray School of Medicine. She is now in solo private integrative psychiatric practice in a suburb of Charlotte, NC in Mooresville, NC. She has co-written 2 books on personal transformation, recorded 2 meditation CDs to assist others with creating inner peace, written a landmark article on PTSD/Dissociative Disorders in a peer-reviewed journal, and has contributed to or been interviewed by many mainstream media outlets including CNN, Good Housekeeping, SELF, Glamour, AOL Health, Woman’s Day, Fitness, Whole Living, and Health – to name a few. You can find out more about Dr. Latz at www.shiftyourlife.com
Arizona Shootings & The Silent Minority: People Suffering From Serious Mental Illness
Everyone seems outraged today by the recent shootings in Arizona that was perpetrated by an allegedly mentally ill man – yet where is the public outrage over the lack of funding for mental health services for or education regarding available treatment for the seriously mentally ill that contributes to such a situation arising in the first place? We had the same public outcry after the Columbine school shootings or various “Bell Tower Shootings” on college campuses. The only difference with the Arizona shooting is that it was a politician that was attacked and now the politicians are all in fear for their own lives. They think it might be contagious… and the fear is contagious. Why don’t they consider changing this into a positive event and funding mental health care and public education about what can be done to get treatment for people who “are acting strange” as most of the shooters in the past were for weeks to months prior to deadly actions. Involuntary commitment laws in every state allow for forced evaluation of any person immediately if there is concern about possible mental illness and potential harm to self or others. How many people know this? And why don’t people know this if it is a law in every state? And if they do know this, then why don’t they act?
Mental illness is a serious medical condition that affects one in four families. No one is to blame for mental illness. Treatment can and does work, but only half of people living with mental illness receive treatment. Why is this? Denial, social stigma, historic insurance company discrimination against coverage or payment if you have mental illness, and the fact that politicians always target mental health funding to cut first whenever there is an economic downturn or they need to cut monies from a budget… because seriously mentally ill people are the silent minority. They are not likely to raise a public outcry because they are often too depressed, anxious, paranoid or frankly psychotic to either follow what goes on in the legislature or to speak up.
Cutbacks in mental health funding leads to no case managers to monitor the most seriously mentally ill patients and coordinate mental health visits or forced hospitalizations when these people are non-compliant with medication or severely decompensate in their psychiatric condition. Cutbacks in mental health funding leads to fewer psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in mental health centers and psychiatric hospitals to evaluate people for potential dangerous ideation or need for psychiatric treatment.
Most of the people with mental illness are not in community treatment centers at all. According to the U.S. Justice Department, 24% of the nation’s jail inmates and 16% of the prison inmates have a mental disorder, a number that has increased at least 3-fold over the past 30 years- and has increased substantially since deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients in the 1960s. According to the Justice Department numbers, the single largest provider of mental health services is the Los Angeles County Jail where my co-author and I have taught classes on personal transformation.
Loads of Light to all who are dealing with or have loved ones who are dealing with mental illness,
Tracy Latz, M.D. (a.k.a. “The Shift Doctor”)
**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about them at www.shiftyourlife.com .