NAMI released the following statement on the recent California tragedies involving gun violence and deaths of community members who were experiencing mental health crises.
ARLINGTON, VA. January 26, 2023 – On the heels of recent high-profile and tragic events, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reiterates its call for urgent action to improve mental health crisis response and common sense approaches to address our public health crisis caused by gun violence. This comes in the wake of the deaths of several people in a mental health crisis in Los Angeles in the first weeks of the year and a spate of mass gun violence tragedies, including in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, Calif.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “The mental health impact on the communities affected – as well as on all of us who feel so helpless to solve this – is immense. We all want an end to this senseless violence and trauma, and we need to come together to identify meaningful solutions.”
More than 40 mass shootings have already occurred in the U.S. this year. These tragedies inflict significant trauma within their communities. The Monterey Park tragedy, which occurred as people gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year, is particularly traumatic for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. But these shootings, as with all mass shootings, impact the mental health of our entire country. Los Angeles, which is close to Monterey Park, is also dealing with additional tragedies, such as the deaths of two people in early January experiencing psychiatric emergencies. According to The Washington Post, there have been seven other deaths of people in a mental health crisis across the country since January 1. People in a mental health crisis deserve a mental health response, with access to appropriate and timely mental health emergency care. NAMI believes we must do better to help anyone in a crisis.
NAMI is an alliance of state and local affiliates working to build better lives for people affected by mental illness. NAMI is here, ready to help people cope with trauma in the wake of these incomprehensible events. Find your local NAMI here. If you need resources or help, call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), text “HELPLINE” to 62640 or chat at nami.org/help, open Mon.-Fri. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET/ 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT. The NAMI HelpLine volunteers are highly trained and work to offer support, answer questions, and provide practical next steps. NAMI also leads the #ReimagineCrisis campaign, an effort comprised of 50 partner organizations committed to improving our national response to people in a mental health crisis.