Consider the Evidence: Is Their a Relationship Between Violence and Mental Illness?

The following statements have been circulated nationally today:

From the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law:

From Mental Health America

Because some of you wanted to have more shared about the relationship between mental illness and violence, I have lifted some web-links on this issue.  There are a multitude of others, if one googles the topic.

I am so glad that this issue has been well researched and that there have even been studies of the role of the media in mis-portrayal of mental illness as the culminating reason for some violent deaths.  Because, ironically, persons with psychiatric disabilities are actually more prone to be harmed or killed because of violence than they are to commit such violent acts, proportionally.

The discussion of this issue is an important one, because we must start dispelling the assumptions about what having a mental illness means.  These assumptions impact the values which define our service relationships and limit our abilities to reach for our own wellness and recovery, among other important consequences.

The links follow.  Please check out especially the video clips (last two links listed).  Mr. Harvey Rosenthal, a person whom I have known and respected for many years, does an excellent job educating an audience about the issue of violence and the troubling assumptions that impact our lives as ‘consumers.’

Mental Illness is Not an Explanation for Violence (published 1/10/11)

Dispelling the Myth of Violence and Mental Illness

Media Keeps the Myth Alive

UNC Professor Eric Elbogen:  You Tube Report on the Research

Harvey Rosenthal, a consumer advocate speaks:


Fact or Assumption and Why it Matters                                                                                                                                              Our perceptions of violence as a result of mental illness influence how we build service systems!                                                                                                                                                                                                            (1/10/11)  We mourn the deaths and injuries of so many individuals, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords.  But simple conclusions about mental illness and violence has  ramifications for the treatment and regard of persons with psychiatric disabilities.  Do we want a system based on the potential for violence while minimally considering how to promote recovery?  Is it possible that this kind of focus requires a heavier reliance on hospitalization while not emphasizing better life outcomes in the long run?  See more in the NEWS section, including informative web links.  But for starters, please consider what my friend Harvey Rosenthal says to the Association of Health Care Journalists (link just above this article).

3 thoughts on “Consider the Evidence: Is Their a Relationship Between Violence and Mental Illness?

    • Hi, Katie.

      NC CANSO is happy to have you join us at this important time for us in North Carolina! Joining is simple, and I’ll send you an email to tell you how!



    • Hi, Katie. I tried to answer you before, but may not have succeeded. Still learning about web management! You can join by mailing address to the NC CANSO office address: NC CANSO, 2790 Birchwood Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27103

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