Could the U.S. Mental Health System Have Prevented Elliot Rodger’s Murderous Rampage?

Lexington, KY (PRWEB) May 29, 2014

Elliot Rodger murdered six innocent people and maimed approximately a dozen others before killing himself, according to virtually every major news outlet. “Although one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in America, when that individual, caught in the act, takes his own life he gives up his right to a jury trial,” said forensic psychiatrist Dr. Tim Houchin, M.D.

According to this article in Forbes, Rodger posted over a dozen videos on YouTube, each of which has now been taken down. In the article, Forbes writer Kashmir Hill described the videos as being full of “anger, self-loathing and self-pity.” Ms. Hill even reported that one viewer of Rodger’s YouTube videos, just days before the murders, commented on Reddit, “I bet we find out this guy is a serial killer.”

Dr. Houchin is one of a handful of U.S. physicians to be board certified in child and adolescent as well as adult forensic psychiatry. As such, he has evaluated dozens of murderers ranging in ages from teens to the elderly. When asked about Rodger’s YouTube videos Dr. Houchin stated, “Mr. Rodger published multiple disturbing [YouTube] videos in addition to his 140 page ‘manifesto’. These were clearly the actions of a vengeful, emotionally disturbed young man.”

So what exactly was Rodger’s reported psychiatric diagnosis, did it play a significant role in the murders and, perhaps most importantly was this a preventable tragedy? Regarding diagnosis, this CNN article asserts that court documents from his parents’ divorce specify Rodger was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 7. Another CNN article cited Simon Astaire, a Rodger family friend, as claiming Elliot Rodger met with a psychotherapist “pretty much every day in high school.” The same article reported that Rodger was seeing two different therapists shortly before his murderous rampage.

If the CNN articles are accurate, Rodger had access to tremendous numbers of psychotherapy sessions; something Dr. Houchin indicated is typically only available to wealthy individuals due to the expense of such therapy. When asked if Rodger’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome may have played a role in the killings, Dr. Houchin responded, “Since I have not assessed Mr. Rodger I cannot say whether his purported diagnosis of Asperger’s is accurate. Having said this, if you’re starting with the wrong diagnosis you’re going down the wrong path.”

Although many questions remain, one is especially perplexing. With Rodger posting such disturbing videos on YouTube to the point that even laypersons were commenting he might be a serial killer, why were both of his therapists seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had been planning a mass murder for some 3 years? “This question,” said Dr. Houchin, “is complex and much more information will need to come to light before condemning the decisions of Rodger’s therapists”.

An expanded version of this article is available at

About Dr. Tim:

Dr. Tim Houchin is one of approximately 200 physicians in the United States to be triple board certified in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry & forensic psychiatry. In addition to serving as an expert witness to various courts Dr. Tim is founder and president of 360 Mental Health Services, a comprehensive mental health diagnostic and treatment center based in Lexington, Kentucky.

What happens when you go before an administative law judge in a hearing for a disability claim for mental stuf?

Question by hunter: What happens when you go before an administative law judge in a hearing for a disability claim for mental stuf?
What happens when you go before an administative law judge in a hearing for a disability claim for mental stuff, ptsd, add, mild retardation, some physical, peptic ulcers, heartburn, acid reflux and asthma? I know somebody that is going and they want my advise on how to handel it and what happens. They have a lawer. They are really nervious please tell me what happens if you can. Do they talk to you or just the lawer?

Best answer:

Answer by sunnny
The record all audio/visual and tell you they have an “expert witness”. When I was told that, I said, ” Well, if this doctor is an expert, I want him for my doctor!”, I also told my attorney for SSDi< I'm not looking for a job. The "expert witness" was not present, but they do send the person notification that they may be in the court room, mine was done by phone, got disconnected and they didn't call him back. So funny. The judge asks a few questions, they can make you wait and they do record you in the waiting area, too. I waited over 2 and 1/2 hours for my 11am appt done at 1pm. Not happy with that. Your friend should get a handicapped plaquard from DMV if eligible/drives. Just need a docs signature for the simple one, respiratory type. (ie, no wheelchairs or other equipment required) If your friend has PTSD, military related, he/she should contact the VA for disability benefits, too. There is a rehab person there and a psychologist. If your friend has an atty for an SSDI claim, they must have waited the time period and are eligible for the disability if they can not work. go to and review disability claims. With asthma, certain criteria must be met with resp function acc to age etc. the ALJ determines if the claim is legit or if the person can work or be placed in another job, usually one that is minimum wage, many people get disability for depression, hopefully, your friend will get some medical treatment for the "peptic ulcers", but also, some people become worse over time instead of better. Soc Sec can review the case in 3 years or so to determine if still disabled.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!