The NMA, on behalf of its physicians, their families and colleagues expresses heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families in Newtown, Connecticut.
“On behalf of the National Medical Association, I want to express that we are all joined in our grief, as our hearts are aching over the loss of such beautiful and innocent lives. We want the families, friends and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary to know that the NMA’s thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as the entire Newtown community” states Rahn Kennedy Bailey, M.D., FAPA, NMA President.
Dr. Bailey is one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists and has special expertise and insight into this tragedy; Dr. Bailey completed a Forensic Medicine/Psychiatry Fellowship at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
“There have been far too many senseless acts of domestic terrorism occurring in this country. After seeing the multiple images of sobbing schoolchildren, as well as distraught teachers and parents on the various news outlets this weekend, there is only one thing left to say; this has got to stop,” said Dr. Bailey.
As a psychiatrist, Dr. Bailey reminds us of the need for acute psychiatric intervention for the victim’s family, the children who survived and indeed for others affected.
Unfortunately, these types of horrific events bring to the forefront the number of people who may be living with mental illnesses that have yet to be diagnosed and/or treated. This is particularly true for young males. Over the past several years, it appears that a pattern of violence has started to develop among young males 29 and under.
It is of no surprise that many of these perpetrators are young men, from Jarred Loughner, 22 (Arizona shootings) to 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech shootings) to Jovan Belcher, 25 (Kansas City Chief player who shot and killed his girlfriend and then killed himself) and 27-year-old Javon Foster who committed suicide after killing his girlfriend and injuring their toddler as recently as last week in Washington, DC.
“There is an ever present need to increase our awareness, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. This is necessary for the individual, but also for our communities as we have unfortunately witnessed; undiagnosed and untreated mental illness may lead to tragedy for us all,” said Dr. Bailey.
Dr. Bailey further noted that although signs of mental illness appear in adolescence and early adulthood; mental illnesses are usually diagnosed in young men in their late teens to mid-twenties, as opposed to women which are more often diagnosed in their late 20’s.
These signs or symptoms are not limited to a particular race or group in our society and we must recognize that mental illness is a medical condition. “The stigma associated with mental illness delays adequate diagnosis and care and can have devastating effects on the country,” according to Dr. Bailey.
Many medical researchers believe it is due to a combination of biological and social pressure that has come into play in that particular individual’s life.
“The late teens and 20’s are often a period of time in a young person’s life where an insurmountable amount of stress and/or peer pressure is being experienced. This is extremely true in young men, especially now, with the social media and internet aspect augmented by the fact that they are transitioning from boyhood to manhood. This stress and peer pressure is certainly more evident, particularly if they (the young men) have not established themselves financially, career wise, with their family and personal relationships.” continued, Dr. Bailey.
“As a result of these young men not being diagnosed and left untreated; they often experience feelings of depression, loneliness, isolation and/or anger at being excluded, all of which can lead to low self-esteem, shyness, substance abuse, homelessness, extreme violence, a life of crime and/or incarceration, just to name few.”