We shouldn’t make mental illness a scapegoat for violence

Brother by LINUZ90, on FlickrCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  LINUZ90 


Great article from the New Jersey Times, posted yesterday:

If you were concerned about your personal safety, whom would you rather sit next to on the bus: someone with schizophrenia who sometimes hears voices or a football fan whose team just lost the championship? The correct answer is: We don’t have enough information, because neither schizophrenia nor liking football makes someone a safety threat.

The fact is that those in treatment for schizophrenia or any other brain disorder are no more likely to commit a violent act than anyone treated for heart disease, cancer, diabetes or acne. They are no more dangerous than anyone else, according to the MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence, published in 2001.

In fact, not only are they no more dangerous, they are more likely to be the victims of violence. So when we hear anyone proposing a national registry for those with mental illness, we should all just cringe.

We totally need more people saying stuff like this, especially in this part of the world.

Check out the rest of the very thoughtful article. When you’re done, I’m curious to know: what do you think? Come back and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Published by Doc Ayomide

I’m a medical doctor with specialty training in psychiatry, and I love thinking and writing about what it means to be human.

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  1. Okay! So after much re-orientation and thinking, i have come to the conclusion that yes I am a congnitive miser and seek to preserve myself first before others. So I need to break out from the mindbox and put myself (yes myself again) in their position before I judge them. Them being anyone that doesn’t fit my idea of “fine, fly and all things ice”. Point being its not okay when you crucify someone because of a physical disability, ailment or status, all in the bid to preserve yourself 1 minute of thinking about the implication of your action.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Funmi. Especially your concluding thought: “It’s not okay when you crucify someone…all in the bid to preserve yourself one minute of thinking about the implication of your action.” Couldn’t have said it better!

  2. Now I have some insight into the ‘spirit’ behind our arguement in the doc’s lounge this afternoon!Nice work with the blog.

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