In anticipation of our upcoming April cover story, here is some recent coverage on the relationship between gun violence and mental illness in Psychiatric Times.
We all know that gun violence is a significant problem in the United States—but what are the causes of gun violence? What is the connection between gun violence and mental illness? And what can psychiatric clinicians do to help prevent gun violence?
In anticipation of our upcoming April cover story about the relationship between gun violence and mental illness, Psychiatric Times® is sharing some of our past coverage from mental health experts about gun violence, the nature of mass shooters, and the true connections between gun violence and mental illness.
School Shooters and Psychopathy: A Rush to Judgment?
It took only 48 hours for the pop psychology “diagnosis” of the Uvalde, Texas, shooter to hit the internet. One headline screamed, “A teenage psychopath is still a psychopath….” One prominent politician declared the shooter to be a “psychopath” and another upped the ante, describing him as a “heartless psychopath.”
Several anonymous online comments ran along the lines of, “Who else but a psychopath could murder a room full of innocent schoolchildren?” That is a perfectly understandable question among the general public, but it amounts to little more than a circular argument and plays fast and loose with the concept of “psychopath.” Continue Reading
Most Mass Shooters are Terrorists, Not Mentally Ill
There is a common misperception amplified by mainstream media and government officials that people “go crazy” or enter some altered state of consciousness and start shooting. Rather, executing murderous plots such as mass shootings at schools, grocery stores, places of worship, and public events requires a mind that is lucid and capable of producing rational thought, planning, and logical cognitive processing. For example, the 2017 Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival shooter reportedly had extensive notes on distance, trajectory, and wind changes in his hotel room.
These shooters are often linked with an adherence to ideas and rhetoric that are bandied about as truth on media outlets. On top of that, elected government officials with massive public platforms echo these “truths” and reinforce their so-called legitimacy. The result is a radicalized—not mentally ill—individual absorbing all of this extremist ideology who then takes advantage of the easy access to guns in America. Continue Reading
The Aftermath of School Shootings
The recent suicides of two teenaged survivors of the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the father of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting raise the question of the interplay and impact of survivor guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic bereavement among survivors and victims’ loved ones after such traumatic events.
Alarmingly, these three suicides occurred within a 10-day period. The mother of one shooting survivor who died by suicide shared publicly her daughter’s PTSD and survivor guilt. The father of the young Columbine victim had struggled with prolonged grief over 6 years after his daughter’s death, according to his wife. In addition, suicides have also occurred in the wake of the Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings. Continue Reading
Debunking 4 Myths Around Mass Shootings
As the recent waves of violence show, a conversation needs to be had on mass shootings and gun violence. Tony Thrasher, DO, DFAPA—president of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry (AAEP) and medical director of crisis services in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin—talks about 4 crucial misunderstandings about mass shootings. Watch Here
Learn more from mental health experts about gun violence and mental illness in the upcoming Psychiatric Times April issue cover story.
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