Mental Health, Gun Violence, and Why America Connects Them: 1A

Mental Health, Gun Violence, and Why America Connects Them: 1A


General view in March for Our Lives 2022 in Washington, DC.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for March For Our L


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Paul Morigi/Getty Images for March For Our L


General view in March for Our Lives 2022 in Washington, DC.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for March For Our L

Congress is seeking to pass a bipartisan proposal on gun safety. And if successful, the bill could come with a significant investment in mental health treatment.

Lawmakers have yet to solidify their plans, but they said a Senate bill would include strengthening school mental health services, crisis intervention, treatment services for related disorders substance use and suicide prevention.

Mental health providers say they’ll take all the federal resources they can get, but aren’t convinced it will do much to prevent mass shootings.

Dr. Jeff Temple, psychologist and founding director of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Texas Medical Branch, wrote in an op-ed originally published in the Austin American-Statesman:

Placing psychiatric illness as a bogeyman is politically expedient – ​​it allows policy makers to distract from the real culprit. It also aligns with how the public often perceives mental illness – as something to be feared. After all, what else could make someone do something so heinous? The problem with this thought is that it is wrong.

There is little evidence that people with mental health issues are more likely to assault or kill someone with a gun. In fact, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of this violence.

One area where mental health and guns collide is suicide, which accounts for thousands more gun deaths each year than homicides, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is the nature of the link between mental health and gun violence? And if it is tenuous, why is it evoked following a tragedy?

Jeff Temple, Julie Rovnerand Dr. Steven Pliszka join us for the conversation.

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