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Sheriff's Corner: It's time to tackle the mental health problem in this country

The recent school shooting in Nashville have once again revived calls for
stricter gun control laws - increase the age to purchase; require background
checks; ban assault-style weapons and red flag laws. These senseless acts of
violence have also put a focus on mental illness in our society. Yes, someone
who resorts to these mass shootings and murder is clearly emotionally
unstable, but a study by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit of sixty-three
active shooters found that only a quarter of those had a diagnosis of mental
illness. What other studies are showing and what we are finding are that
mass shooters are not acting on an impulse but have deep grievances and
anger that drive their actions.

The public tends to link serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia or
psychotic disorders, with violence and mass shootings, but serious mental
illness—specifically psychosis—is not a key factor in most mass shootings or
acts of deadly violence. Approximately 5% of mass shootings are related to
severe mental illness. And although a much larger number of mass
shootings (about 25%) are associated with non-psychotic psychiatric or
neurological illnesses, including depression, and an estimated 23% with
substance use. Studies have shown contribution of mental illness to mass
shootings has decreased over time, and that data suggests other risk
factors, such as a history of legal problems, challenges coping with severe
and acute life stressors, and the epidemic of the combination of emptiness,
anger, and a desire for notoriety among young men to be a bigger factor in
the mass shootings. 

A portion of our politicians have the unfortunate tendency to react to what is
most publicized in social media and to react to anecdotes, with much of it
being incorrect. As a result, we end up with policies politicians saying “we
did something” but, in fact, it is either not helpful or in some cases

In Michigan, specifically, we have not recovered since 1997, when then
Governor John Engler moved to close more than a dozen state psychiatric
hospitals. 30 years later, our local mental health services and hospitals
statewide are still struggling to keep up, with first responders and
communities feeling the effects. Our jails have become a dumping ground
for those suffering from mental illnesses.

As a society we need to see the public mental health system better funded
and more capable of intervening in providing crisis response. So, when
somebody feels depressed, enraged, insignificant, they have access to
counseling that may dissuade them from acting violently.


More money needs to be allocated so we can have more timely, more competent crisis response
services by the public mental health, as well as other first responder
systems. Locally, we received a grant to help train local first responders in
Mental Health First Aid, a skills-based training course that teaches attendees
about mental health and substance-use issues, to better aid them in the field
when someone they are dealing with is experiencing a mental health crisis or
beginning to experience signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge.

This will be helpful to provide some assistance or direction to someone who
may be suffering prior to them making the decision to resort to committing
mass homicide and ending their life. In these circumstances they are either
going to commit suicide or they are going to get the police to shoot them, or
they are going to go to prison or hospital for the rest of their life. They have
given up. Their life is over. We know a ton about suicide prevention and yet
the suicide rates in the United States have not gone down because we have
not made a good societal investment in suicide prevention and crisis
responding. It is particularly important and would make a dramatic

With all, there is a quick knee jerk reaction to restrict and change the gun
laws by a segment of our lawmakers. However, these same people continue
to linger and sit back on bettering the access to mental health services in
our country. Society needs to come together on this front to combat what is
the true epidemic we are facing, the mental wellbeing of our loved ones and
neighbors alike. Like everything, it all starts in the home.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In a recent statement by President
Joe Biden on this topic, he mentions isolation, sickness, grief, and job loss as
contributing factors on declining mental health as well as lack of access to
mental health services during challenging times. What is important to
remember is that these people are not alone. More important to me is the
fact that “talk is cheap.” Those in political positions need to come together
and address our growing mental health epidemic. Actions speak louder than


Local High School Schedule & Scores

CSAA Basketball (Boys)


White Cloud 48 @ Big Rapids 53 (OT)

  -> Game broadcasting on WBRN 1460am, 96.5fm

Lakeview 46 @ Tri County 54

C Montcalm 55 @ Kent City 52 (OT) 

Chip Hills 48 @ Newaygo 58

Grant 41 @ Reed City 60


Reed City 32 @ Cadillac 54

Morley Stanwood 68 @ Tri County 63

Shepherd 56 @ Chip Hills 39

Lakeview 58 @ St Louis 50


CSAA Tournament

  Big Rapids 48 @ Reed City 46 (CSAA Tourn Champ)

      -> Game broadcasting on WBRN 1460am, 96.5fm

      -> Big Rapids Wins CSAA Tournament

  Chip Hills 30 @ Kent City 56 (CSAA Tourn)

  C Montcalm 40 @ Newaygo 82 (CSAA Tourn)

  Lakeview 41 @ Morley Stanwood 52 (CSAA Tourn)

2/22/24 - 7:00pm

Montague @ Grant

Morley Stanwood @ Tri County (CSAA Tourn)

2/23/24 - 7:00pm

C Montcalm @ Midland Calvary Bap

CSAA Basketball (Girls)

2/19/24 - 7:00pm

Hart 45 @ Morley Stanwood 40

Newaygo 38 @ Oakridge 46

2/20/24 - 7:00pm

Chip Hills 33 @ Beal City 67

Big Rapids 39 @ Cadillac 41

Whitehall 44 @ Grant 71

Hesperia 18 @ Tri County 71

Lakeview 55 @ Pine River 41

Reed City 36 @ McBain 40

2/21/24 - 7:00pm

Shelby 41 @ Newaygo 48

2/23/24 - 7:30pm

Tri County @ Big Rapids (7:00p)

Reed City @ C Montcalm

Morley Stanwood @ Grant

Lakeview @ Kent City

Newaygo @ Chip Hills


Big Rapids Ice Hockey (12-12-1)

MHSAA Regional 21: 2/24/24

Big Rapids#4 @ E Grand Rapids#1 (7:15pm)

GR CC#3 @ GR Christian#2 (4:15pm)

CSAA Basketball Standings

CSAA - Boys

  1. Reed City 18-3 (10-0)
  2. White Cloud 16-5 (8-2)
  3. Big Rapids   15-6 (8-2)
  4. Grant   13-6 (8-2)
  5. Newaygo 13-8 (6-4)
  6. Central Montcalm 8-12 (4-6)
  7. Kent City 7-14 (4-6)
  8. Tri County 6-15 (3-7)
  9. Chip Hills 5-16 (3-7)
  10. Morley Stanwood 2-17 (1-9)
  11. Lakeview 5-16 (0-10)

CSAA - Girls

  1. Morley Stanwood 15-3 (8-1)
  2. Grant 13-4 (8-1)
  3. Kent City 15-4 (7-2)
  4. Reed City 11-8 (7-2)
  5. Big Rapids 10-8 (6-3)
  6. Lakeview 10-9 (4-5)
  7. Central Montcalm 8-11 (4-5)
  8. Newaygo 10-9 (3-6)
  9. White Cloud 7-13 (2-8)
  10. Tri County 3-14 (1-8)
  11. Chip Hills 1-18 (0-9)

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