Comedy

John Oliver Takes on U.S. Mental Health Services in Wake of Oregon Shootings

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“The fact that we tend to only discuss mental health in a mass shooting context is deeply misleading,” John Oliver said in the latest episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. After highlighting the strange, borderline cruel way people still talk about mental illness—including “doctors” like Oz and Phil—he takes us through a tour of America’s rocky past with “snake pit” mental institutions, a period of reform, and the recent closures of facilities that has led to cycles of mistreatment and abuse. Not to mention the fact that many victims end up in unsuitable institutions like jail or, bizarrely, nursing homes—if they don’t get shot by police first. Our health care system isn’t helping either, due to budget cuts, reimbursement issues, and the general cost of treatment.

“If we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control, then the very least we owe them is a f***ing plan,” he concludes. Watch the video below:

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