Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Does Having a Mental Illness Equate to Violence?

In light of the events that have taken place over the past few weeks, as well as in the past, I’ve decided to blog regarding the discussion as to “the supposed correlation” as to guns and mental illness. Just because you have a mental illness, does this mean you are going to go on a shooting rampage, and denied a gun permit? Although not a gun owner, nor do I ever plan to be, nevertheless, why is the connection to having a “mental illness” and “going on a killing rampage” have to be used in the same sentence?

I agree there is a big gap between treatment needs for those with a mental illness, and the lack of available resources.

Pete Earley, in USA Today, says he worries that those with mental illness will be lumped together with the small group of people who have committed heinous acts of violence, who have also had their share of mental health issues.

Another assumption the news jumps to when a shooting occurs is the individual who just committed this horrible act of violence has a mental illness and I feel jumping to this conclusion is not fair.

Is treatment of an individual with a mental illness with medication, going to eliminate all these shootings? I really do not think so. I realize in certain circumstances this may be true, but I guarantee shootings still will occur from those individuals considered “mental illness free.”

Another thing I don’t understand, in many states that require people with a history of violently mental illness (from 72 hour or 96 hour holds) to be placed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

I understand in some certain circumstances this may prevent violence….but it has been my understanding that those individuals on this (72/96 hour hold list) were not individuals involved in these recent and passed shootings!

In general though…is sending individuals who commit crimes, to jail appropriate. Many times those individuals sent to prison or jail has an increase in symptoms because the environment exacerbates symptoms. It is my opinion; the United States jumps right away to locking up individuals with mental illnesses not provide medication management, therapy, or an understanding of the diagnosed or specially undiagnosed mental disorder. The law should consider putting those mental ill into the state facilities specially designed for this.

According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise -- in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

I would love to hear feedback on this topic, please provide comments, so that we can all figure out the best solution for preventing and understanding these folks.

Thanks everyone for reading!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I think it is important to remind that studies have proven that most people with mental illnesses are more likely to arm THEMSELVES than OTHERS. They are also more like to be VICTIMS of criminal acts instead of doing one. Mainstream media makes an automatic association between mental illness and violence when this association is false, for most people with mental illnesses. It's sad.