In the wake of back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump raised the wrath of some mental health advocates when he called for increasing the number of psychiatric hospitals and making greater use of involuntary hospitalization, also known as civil commitment, for individuals with serious mental illness who become dangerous when they go off treatment.
“I think we have to start building institutions again because you know, if you look at the ’60s and the ’70s, so many of these institutions were closed. And the people were just allowed to go onto the streets,” the president told reporters. “And that was a terrible thing for our country.”
In an earlier statement immediately following the two shootings, the president opined that we “must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.”
DJ Jaffe is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institue, executive director of Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill.