03.26.18 | Mental Illness and Violence

Mental illness. The very term conjures up . . . . what, exactly? First impression, maybe: the guy talking to himself on the bus; the depressed shut-in; the alcoholic on the street; that hyper-focused Aspergers guy featured in The Big Short who made a fortune; or any other of the afflicted representing one of the 297 personality disorders listed in the DSM-5. 

The point is, without parsing it, the general term mental illness requires context for real meaning. Ignorance, even denial, may result. A study ten years ago by Baylor University found of 293 church members, more than 32 percent were told by their pastor that there was no mental illness and the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature i.e. personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement. What replaces understanding, then, is often social stigma. 

The need to separate truth from perception is probably no greater in the area of mental illness than in its relation to violence, our subject for Member Monday (3/26). Joining us for the discussion is member Joseph de Raismes, General Counsel of Mental Health America, which authored our focus piece, “Violence: Community Mental Health Response” http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/positions/violence

- Steve Smith.

Dustin SimantobComment