March 15, 2018 – Depression and Safety


Anchor lead: Many parents fail to safely store guns even when they have a child with a diagnosed mental illness, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Parents who have a child with a diagnosed mental illness are no more likely to practice safe gun storage than parents of children without such conditions, a recent study in Pediatrics found. Karen Swartz, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says one take home is clear.

Swartz: It’s really important for anyone who’s dealing with a mental health issue for their families to think about any kind of weapon, medicine, anything that could be used to harm them be kept in a safe way.  :12

Swartz says her work with families may provide some insight.

Swartz: I do believe that parents have trouble at times accepting that their children are as ill as they are. I think parents when given the choice between my child’s just being an annoying teenager versus my child has a life-threatening illness, it’s so terrifying to think that the latter is true. It’s an illness that could kill my child, I don’t want to believe that. Sometimes I think they have trouble thinking it’s serious enough that it would take all of that preparation and safety.  :26

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.