President’s Message – January 2013

January 2013

Ken Deitz, President

Last month, we were all stunned by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon. That something like this could happen at what was supposed to be a safe place shocked the nation. In the wake of these tragedies, there were calls to reform both our gun laws and the way we deal with mental health issues. As a nurse I think we need to do both.

Mental health care in this nation is in need of repair. Too often, when parents are faced with a child who is a threat to his/herself or others, the only solution is to call the police. There simply is nothing that the health care system can do. Beyond that, there is not even a system in place to deal with mental health crises, and little to no coordination between the educational system, law enforcement, and health care providers. This puts families with children who are suicidal or dangerously aggressive, or both, in an untenable situation – no system to assist with their children, and no help in controlling it at home. In short, they have nowhere to turn.

This isn't just a remote problem. According to Time, about five million American children have some form of mental illness that is so severe that they suffer significant life impairment such as the inability to safely live at home or attend regular school. Funding for mental illness has dropped dramatically, and children not given “the right diagnosis” often aren't eligible for meaningful help in the health care or legal system.

While mental health coverage will be included in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, it likely won't be enough to fix the other problems in the system. And this is why I strongly believe we also need to fix our gun safety laws. There is too much at stake to believe shoring up our mental health care is enough. It's not. Loopholes in background checks for gun purchases should be closed immediately. If you are trying to buy a gun and have a child with mental health issues, you should be required to take appropriate precautions like trigger locks, proper securing of guns, and potentially even keeping the majority of your guns in a safe place outside of the home. This is just commonsense. How many more Sandy Hooks will we have until we add one word to the second amendment? It should be the right to bear arms—SAFELY!

In unity,
Ken Deitz, RN

Previous Messages

President’s Message – Fall 2015 Oct 2015
President’s Message – July 2015 Jul 2015
President’s Message – May 2015 May 2015
President’s Message – March 2015 Mar 2015
President’s Message – January 2015 Jan 2015
President’s Message – November 2014 Nov 2014
President’s Message – September 2014 Sep 2014
President’s Message – July 2014 Jul 2014
President’s Message – May 2014 May 2014
President’s Message – March 2014 Mar 2014
President’s Message – January 2014 Feb 2014
President’s Message – July 2013 Jul 2013
President’s Message – May 2013 Jun 2013
President’s Message – March 2013 Mar 2013
President’s Message – November 2012 Nov 2012
President’s Message – September 2012 Oct 2012
President’s Message – July 2012 Aug 2012
President’s Message – June 2012 Jun 2012
President’s Message – March 2012 Mar 2012
President’s Message – January 2012 Jan 2012
President’s Message – October 2011 Oct 2011
President’s Message – July 2011 Jul 2011
President’s Message – June 2011 Jun 2011
President’s Message – April 2011 Apr 2011
President’s Message – February 2011 Feb 2011
President’s Message – December 2010 Dec 2010
President’s Message – September 2010 Sep 2010
President’s Message – July 2010 Jul 2010
President’s Message – March 2010 Mar 2010
President’s Message – January 2010 Jan 2010
President’s Message – November 2009 Nov 2009
Testimony at the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee Meeting Aug 2009
Kathy J. Sackman | Make a Difference Video Aug 2009