Experts discuss state's mental health system in wake of school shooting


As authorities wrestle with what motivated 20-year-old Adam Lanza to go on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary, mental illness remains a topic of speculation, but is bringing up concerns about treatment options in Minnesota.

Dr. S. Charles Schulz, M.D., Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota tells KARE 11 there's a shortage of treatment programs, beds in mental health wards and psychiatrists in the state, especially in the metro.

Twin Cities patients in need of treatment may have to go as far north as Duluth or west as far as Willmar.

In an interview with MPR, soon-to-retire Rep. Mindy Greiling says the mental health system for children is in even worse shape.

Greiling, who's son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, says there's a lack of education for parents and not enough funding for schools to identify mental illness in children.

Some health professionals say associating mental illness with extreme violence can add stigma to health conditions and fuel harmful stereotypes, putting more parents in denial, Greiling says.

Although acquaintances of Lanza point out some unusual behavior, there is no evidence that the gunman was officially diagnosed with any mental illnesses or disorders.

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