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Calls for mental health treatment after Parkland shooting miss the point: U.S. has major psychiatrist shortage

After a devastating school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people, some have called for a focus on mental health screenings, including President Donald Trump.

It’s a controversial stance. There’s evidence that a very small percentage of shootings are connected with mental illness, and other policies could well do more to reduce gun-related violence.

But under calls for better mental health care is an ugly reality: Getting mental health treatment in the U.S. is difficult because there simply aren’t enough psychiatrists, and haven’t been for more than a decade.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health, and work with a wide range of patients including children, older adults, individuals with addiction and those with chronic pain.

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