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Mentally Ill are less likely to be violent than the general population

Recently there have been some new laws proposed that would force people with mental illness into involuntary treatment if they are deemed a “threat”. The problem with trying to legislate the problem away of mass shootings is that it is going about solving the problem in the wrong direction and it is a knee jerk reaction to an ongoing issue. The problem may be one of public perception, that people with mental illness are violent, when the reality is that studies show that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Anyone who has worked with people with mental illness for a significant period of time understands that mental illness itself is diagnosed through the lense of poor social functioning. Most people with mental illness would prefer to avoid other people, not hurt them, so the television reports and newspaper articles that show people who have mental illness are most likely to be when something bad happens. It would be like saying that men with the middle name Wayne are more likely to be serial killers (google it).

One solution that works is not being discussed as much as it should is voluntary treatment. Funding voluntary treatment will increase access and decrease problems with people being untreated. More outreach mental health and tele-health is dramatically needed in order to reach out to those whose geography may prohibit their ability to receive treatment.