Shooting Unfairly Links Violence With Mental Illness — Again

With the Army’s disclosure that Army Spc. Ivan Lopez was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder before he went on a shooting rampage Wednesday, there were once again questions about whether the Army could have prevented the violence at Fort Hood.

Experts in mental health say (even as more facts about Lopez emerge) that it’s highly unlikely the violence could have been predicted. Just raising that question, psychologists and psychiatrists say, shows how much Americans misunderstand the link between mental illness and violence.

One national survey in 2006 found that most Americans — 60 percent — believed people with schizophrenia were likely to be violent. But the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders are not violent. In fact, another study found they are far more likely to be the victims of violence, and that 1 in 4 experience violence every year.

by Joseph Shapiro, NPR

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  1. I believe self-awareness and conscious control of our lives are what separates us from any other species. It is what makes us human. Severe mental disorders like schizophrenia strip away that most fundamental piece of humanity. I personally have a cousin with this devastating disease. Unfortunately, I have noticed many believe in unsubstantiated stigmas about individuals with schizophrenia. There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding in society about this disease. I, in part, produced a prezi that gives some basic facts about schizophrenia, dispels stigmas, and gives advice on how to interact with victims. I hope my awareness campaign will help inform some people on how to help those afflicted with schizophrenia. Please use the presentation at your discretion.

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