Stop the stigma on mental illness

Dante Harrold, Staff Writer

Mental illness is often unjustly blamed for massive problems that plague society. It is often the first thing many politicians blame for great acts of violence in the nation. For exam- ple President Trump blamed mass-shootings that have become more prevalent in America largely due to mental illness. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger,” said Trump.

To many, this would seem reasonable. But evidence shows mental health has very little to do with the types of violent gun related crimes. Such beliefs

are understandable given how media often depicts those with mental illness as inherently more dangerous to society than others.

It could actually be pretty dangerous for those who suffer from a mental illness to have this stigma against them. Such demonization stigmatizes an already vulnerable group of people, and also often leads people to misattribute the cause of a great tragedy to mental illness because it’s an easy scape-goat. Being mentally ill is not synonymous with crime or being more likely to commit one.

Many people think there’s a link between having a mental illness and being prone to violence or the commitment of destructive acts onto others. In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, we as a society need to dramatically change how we look at mental illness. We need to understand that being mentally ill is nothing to be ashamed of. We must realize it is not the cause for much of the violent crime that goes on in America.

“People who suffer from mental illness are more vulnerable to being abused than to abuse others,” said the National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Patients with mental illness were more likely to die by homicide than were people in the general population.”

Society has to realize the need to empathize with those who suffer such affiliations with mental illness. These people need to be recognized as a full part of society rather than some weird outsiders. Rather than see this vulnerable group of people as a threat, society in general should see them as a victim of a violent crime. Not the cause. To be clear, mental illness is prevalent in the nation.

“Mental illness may increase the likelihood of committing violence in some individuals, but only a small par t of the violence in society can be ascribed to mental health patients. Overall, those psychiatric patients who are violent have rates of repeated aggression somewhere between the general population and a criminal cohort,” accord- ing to the National Center for Biotechnology

Information(NCBI). Mental illness is a significant problem in society. The National Alliance for Mental Health reported “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year and 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year while 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34”

We must not stigmatize those who suffer from mental differences as being more dangerous because of their conditions.

Society needs to be involved in changing how it sees mental illness and those who suffer from mental illness. We as a society should not lay so much of the burden on those who suffer from mental illness on their feet because of the nations abundance of mass-shootings that we can seemingly find no other reason for. It’s unfair to them.

Society needs to change the way mental illness is seen. We must work together on this.