Counselor Weighs In On Obama's Gun Control Proposals

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Harvey Yoder is at the Mennonite Fellowship meeting listening to a man talk who helped some mentally ill people in World War II.

Yoder is a psychotherapist at the Family Resource Center.

He said many of his patients are covered by Medicaid and Medicare.

"If people know how to access care, how to use the system appropriately. Most people can get the care they need," he said.

Washington and Lee Law Professor Timothy Jost said access is one of the main problems with the system.

He said he agrees with President Obama's proposal of making mental health care as accessible as physical health.

"I think it's important that people get care just as when they break an arm or have a disease," Jost said.

Yoder said if people are mentally ill, he usually keeps anything they tell him confidential, unless there are some red flags.

"When there's any kind of threat to a life, even one's own life. We have the duty to warn, if there's a threat to someone else's life," he said.

One of President Obama's proposals is to remind doctors they can report threats of violence to authorities.

Yoder said he already does that.

He also said if he sees a threat to someone's life, he asks patients about owning a gun.

"In cases where someone is homicidal or suicidal, of course, but I don't ask it generally," Yoder said.

Obama also wants to remind doctors it is not illegal to ask patients if they have guns.

Yoder said he wouldn't feel comfortable asking every patient.

"I don't think it's appropriate to ask generally, but if there's some reason to do so."

Yoder said he doesn't think this could affect how many people get help.

"I suppose it could, in the part of someone with real criminal intent. But I'm not sure that's an issue that will be significant," Yoder said.

Obama also proposed to send state health official's information regarding the coverage a person gets under Medicare and Medicaid.

Mental health coverage for young people is also under the proposals.

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