No stigma in seeking care as added stress and strain take a toll
People tormented by anger and resentment and acting out that despair with violence against domestic partners and family members need to know that help is available. No stigma exists in seeking help. Violent public outbursts are all the more disturbing for the general population because they cannot be explained or controlled. A productive response is to be aware of the stresses suffered by those around us, and guide them toward help.
Seattle Times editorial
FEELING overwhelmed by the horrific news from Washington to Pennsylvania, New York to California? Those terrible accounts of mass murder, strangers killing strangers, a premeditated attack on police and, locally, a father slaughtering his own children.
Get used to coping with the uncomfortable because those lethal outbursts of anger and revenge that trigger these extraordinarily catastrophic and distressing events are beyond our collective control or understanding.
Mental-health professionals, who admit to being awe-struck by the contagion of violence the past few weeks, understand we seek reassuring explanations and look for patterns. None exist to be found, because these lightening bolts of bad things happen with no control.
Society's need to temporize events might be frustrated, but there is care and help available for those closest to the epicenter of these violent, emotional earthquakes.
The message to be shared is simple: There is no stigma to seeking or receiving help. Men — the violent offenders are virtually all male — who act out their anger, despair and resentment on domestic partners and family members can find help.
Over time, the inability to address anger and resentment, combined with access to lethal weapons, can destroy families and claim lives. The details turn up in a police report or, most catastrophically, the headlines.
Those perpetrators who explode into the public consciousness most often leave a trail of violence and rage. They felt despised, dismissed, disparaged and mistreated by those around them and their life circumstances, explains Dr. Eric Trupin, director of the University of Washington's Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy. They dealt with despair through alcohol, drugs and violence.
Mental-health professionals want these men to know there are evidence-based practices that offer help and hope.
Women in relationships where there is violence need to know that acceptance of aggression as part of their life puts themselves and their children at risk. Outcomes are predictable absent outside counseling and access to options.
Instead of trying to understand the inexplicable thrust upon us, our collective energy is better invested in an awareness of the toll added stresses and strains are taking in our own lives, and those closest to us. No stigma attaches to getting or guiding others toward help.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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