USA Today (1/29, Stoller) reports, “In the third of four hearings scheduled by a legislative task force formed to prevent gun violence and improve school safety in the wake of December’s Newtown school shooting massacre,” Connecticut’s Mental Health Services Commissioner Patricia Rehmer “said risk assessments of mental-health patients are difficult and cannot be done with complete accuracy.” Jeremy Richman, whose daughter was killed at Sandy Hook, testified along with his wife. They “have started the Avielle Foundation to honor those killed on Dec. 14 and to prevent future violent acts by enhancing mental health care and ‘fostering community.'” Rehmer, “who said she was asked to address gaps in the mental health system, alternatives to outpatient commitment and mental health first aid, said the biggest gaps are for those with private insurance.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/30, A15, De Avila, Subscription Publication) notes the commission doesn’t know whether Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was ever treated for mental illness, and privacy laws suggest that the panel may never know. Testimony from Jennifer Maksel, the mother of a Sandy Hook survivor, explained that getting help from the local schools and hospital is hard when it comes to her son, who she said had Asperger’s Syndrome, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.
— “Mental health experts talk about systemic issues, “Gary Stoller, USA Today, January 29, 2013.