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The nation must build on the attention given mental health that has followed the Newtown tragedy by deploying a public health response and implementing scientific advances that can prevent, identify and effectively treat mental illnesses, leaders of Mental Health America assert in the March issue of the journal Health Affairs.

In “After Newtown: Mental  Illness And Violence,” Wayne W. Lindstrom, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America, and David Shern, Ph.D., Mental Health America’s scientific advisor, write that a wide array of universal prevention interventions against mental illness have been developed and rigorously tested that can reduce the rates of mental illnesses and troublesome behaviors.  These interventions are ready to be implemented nationwide. Screening efforts with systematic follow-up can help to identify persons early in their illness. Access and engagement in care can be better accomplished through “assertive” outreach programs, which provide both treatment and economic and social support, as well as peer support services that emphasize client-centered interventions delivered by individuals who have recovered from mental illness.

The article also argues against the lowering of standards for involuntary treatment and state proposals to create a registry of people who have mental illnesses in order to deny them the ability to purchase firearms. You can read the article here.