Tackling Mental Illness

by Ramesh Ponnuru

I have a new Bloomberg column on dueling bills on mental-health policy.

Which approach you favor depends on what you think matters more: reform or more funding; a focus on the most severe cases or something broader; more options for people who want treatment or more compulsion for people who don’t.

I think Represenative Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) is right: What we most acutely need to get right is our treatment of the severely mentally ill. That is partly, as the Bloomberg headline suggests, because a small fraction of the severely mentally ill commit acts of violence, but it is also because these are people, violent or not, who badly need help.