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Pence raises eyebrows with mental health comments

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Former Vice President Mike Pence told attendees at the NRA convention Friday that America needs to go back to institutionalized mental health care.

Pence’s comments come five days after a mass shooting in downtown Louisville. The former vice president criticized the Biden administration’s approach to gun control.

“By ignoring the mental health challenges of the man who killed five people and injured eight others in Louisville, President Biden and the Democrats have returned to the same tired arguments about gun control and gun confiscation,” said Pence.

Pence helped spearhead the construction of a new mental health hospital while he was governor of Indiana. He said there is connection between the crime rate and the closure of large mental hospitals.

“In the 1960’s, liberals emptied our psych wards only to fill our streets and ultimately our prisons with the mentally ill.”

But a local therapist said treating mental health is not a one-size-fits all approach.

“The comments are very reactionary, and they are outdated,” said George Middleton of Family Community Partners.

He said lack of access to mental health care, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and a collective rise of emotion in society over the past few years is partially to blame.

“The school shootings, political extremism, political extremists and racial aggression.”

Over exposure to social media is another factor that could aggravate someone’s state of mind.

“The brain is like a computer, and information is software, so what you put in it is what has got to come out.”

In his speech, Pence said the shooter in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida should have been executed instead of receiving a life sentence. He also said a federal law should be passed that would fast track the appeals process for those charged in a mass shooting.