Mentally Ill at Significant Risk of Becoming Murder Victims

Individuals with mental illness are at significantly increased risk of being murdered, new research shows.

A nationwide cohort study in Sweden showed that those with any mental disorder had a 5-fold increased risk of dying by homicide compared with their counterparts without mental illness.

“In this large cohort study, people with mental disorders had highly increased risks of homicidal death, irrespective of sex, age, or other sociodemographic characteristics. Although the risk of homicidal death was highest among those with substance use disorders, it was also increased among those with personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia and did not seem to be explained by comorbid substance use,” the investigators, led by Casey Crump, MD, PhD, Stanford University in California, write.

“People with mental disorders may be at increased risk of homicidal death for several reasons, including a high prevalence of comorbid substance use, which is associated with violence. Irrespective of substance use, they are also more likely to live in high deprivation areas, which have higher homicide rates, be in closer contact with other mentally ill people, be less aware of their safety needs, or potentially be victimized because of perceptions that they are dangerous or vulnerable,” the authors write.

by Caroline Cassels, Medscape

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