Society, Stigma

The Mentally Ill are Taking the Fall for Gun Violence.

Are You Brave Enough to Stand Up for Them?

In the aftermath of yet another senseless school shooting, the masses cry out.

Not only is gun control one of the first discussion points, so is mental illness. Because, you know, (inject sarcasm) that’s the single most comprehensible explanation for anyone to commit such an atrocity!

I have bipolar, and I am also a responsible gun owner.

Being mentally ill does not mean I’m going on a shooting spree.

The news commentators and government and social media call out, “We have a mental health problem!” No shit, Sherlock; however, that’s not why these shootings occur.

In the past few days, I’ve been told that I should give up my gun and be on an FBI watch list.

My fellow Americans want me to give up my rights to arm myself and to have my privacy, yet I’m not a criminal. This just further “strengthens erroneous public views about mental illness and gun violence.”

Here comes the witch hunt…Abigail Williams accusing Elizabeth Proctor with unfounded evidence!

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism. See Arthur Miller and “The Crucible”.

A friend of mine stated on social media, “the root cause of all these mass shootings is people with severe mental health problems. Undiagnosed mental health is the real problem we are facing in America.”

FALSE. The root cause of mass shootings is NOT mental health problems. The mentally ill are not a variety of terrorist. Click To Tweet

Another comment I read on social media: “I think that all students above 6th grade, should have a mandatory mental screening each year as a requirement to attend school just like a shot record is required now.” You cannot be diagnosed in a single “screening,” and if you pass it now it’s possible to change within weeks anyway.

I actively sought help for my mental health for 10 years before receiving a proper diagnosis.

With the attack on the mentally ill, many of us will choose to not get help for fear of retaliation. As a result, a larger mental health crisis will emerge. Numerous sufferers go undiagnosed as is.

Consider these evidence-based facts:

  • Mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides.
  • The overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crimes is only about 3%, yet an even smaller percentage of them are found to involve firearms.

Other factors that greatly increase the risk of violent crime:

  • alcohol and drug use
  • a history of childhood abuse
  • narcissistic values
  • disgruntled individuals
  • social rejection
  • just being the male gender

The news media have heavily influenced the public’s view of mass murders.

They offer rudimentary statements that assume the perpetrator is “crazy.”

In reality, “a person is about 15 times more likely to be struck by lightning in a given year than to be killed by a stranger with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or chronic psychosis.”

To be stigmatized is to be shamed, disgraced, humiliated, and defamed.

Peoples’ fears and anxiety of the mentally ill reinforce the stigmatization of these individuals. They believe that people with mental illness are more dangerous and that they have no self-control.

The government and media are solidifying the stigma by creating a national paranoia against the mentally ill. Click To Tweet

“Persons with serious mental illness are more feared today than they were half a century ago” because the media and government “perpetuate and reinforce the myth that mental illness is linked to gun violence. Oftentimes the media doesn’t gather any definitive information before crying “mental illness”.

We, the mentally ill, are fighting an uphill battle.

We are not ticking time bombs of violence.

Be brave. Get educated. Fight the stigmatization of the mentally ill.

Copyright © 2017 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.

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