Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mental Illness Does NOT Cause Violence

In the wake of the horrific violence committed today in Roseburg, Oregon, in addition to sympathies for the victims and their loved ones, I'd like to add a few words to address the question, "Does mental illness lead to violence?

Violence Causes Mental Illness, Not Vice Versa
The facts are in the article posted here: No causal relationship (between mental illness and violence) has been found. There is a relationship, however, between anger, substance abuse, recent divorce, and violence. Should we fear and shut out everyone who gets angry, drinks alcohol, or just split with their ex? Yet stigma against the mentally ill persists....

And yet, the media continues to portray mentally ill people as violently dangerous, and also to portray violently dangerous acts as being caused by mental illness:

  • 32 Killed: "ranting about rich 'brats'"
  • 27 Killed: "suffered from extreme mental illness"
  • 18 Killed: "complained of physical and mental health issues before the attack"
The media disproportionately blame violent acts upon people who suffer from mental ills, instead of looking deeper into larger and less popular possible causes, namely societal ills such as disillusionment, disenfranchisement, anger, guns, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and the escalation of historical violence over time. But back to the hard facts: