Mental illness does not equal violence.
We continue to think about the victims of the terrible act of violence in an Orlando nightclub, and the mental trauma the survivors and others will endure. It also troubles us that many people, often in the media and the political arena, are quick to conclude that the perpetrator’s actions were caused by mental illness. The common misconception is that violent crime is rooted in mental health issues.
As Mental Health America’s Paul Gionfriddo says: “Bipolar is NOT a synonym for violent, and does not explain this kind of violence. The facts are that only about 4% of interpersonal violence in the United States can be attributed to mental illness. In addition, people with severe mental illness are 10 times more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators of them.”
Help us change the story. Talk about the impact of trauma and the need for services that support mental health: prevention, public education, immediate access to quality care, peer support, advocacy.
Thank you for helping us all live mentally healthier lives.
Bruce Cruser, Executive Director