There’s Much In The News About Mental Illness

I live in the GTA (Greater Torornto Area) and the news today was overwhelmingly about mental illness and random murders. I googled it to get the information but found  this among other reports. Society is very quick to blame people who have mental illness with violent crime. This is not the case in most instances. Many people who have mental illnesses do not even have the energy to get out of bed, never mind commit acts of violence. To blame mental illnesses for murder or other random acts is irresponsible and untrue.

Let’s just say it is true. Why would people kill strangers? Maybe they have tried to get help but have been turned away at hospitals. Maybe they can’t hold down a job and therefore do not have benefits to get the medication they need. Maybe they self medicate with alcohol and street drugs to help deal with the pain they feel each and every day. If mentally ill individuals are randomly killing people then we, as a society need to look in the mirror. Something is not working!

My daughter, Justine suffered from bipolar disorder and PTSD. She worked very hard at 2 jobs but neither one had benefits. She was not covered under our benefits after the age of 25. Luckily, she found a Psychiatrist at the hospital who prescribed medication to her under the hospital. She was one of the lucky ones. She knew many homeless people who had no access to medication. Many were alcoholics. These people need help. There doesn’t seem to be much help, just blame.

Here is another article on this topic. Three years ago I posted this on Facebook on the same subject.

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20 thoughts on “There’s Much In The News About Mental Illness

      1. It is very sad. And more awareness needs to be brought forth when it comes to PTSD and anxiety. What people don’t understand are triggers that can set off an attack. It is an awful feeling when you have no control and a sense of hopelessness, not knowing how long the attack will last or if you will survive. It isn’t until someone suffers the effects themselves. I would never wish this on anyone.

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  1. It really is a sad situation. In Chicago, for example, there are homeless people who cannot get into shelters unless they have/take their medication but if they do not have it for known conditions then they are out of luck. What we do know about criminology and mental illness when it comes to random murders is that the subject is often emotionally and in many cases, socially isolated with the propensity for extremism. However, few question the chicken or the egg debate in this arena. Some people are just evil, how many gang shootings, rape, sex slavery, pedophilia and murder instances does America have daily? None of this exists in a vacuum. By limiting the conversation of gun control to mental illness, it is a cop out.

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  2. Thanks for reminding us of this. I have been a mental health counselor for some time and yes, most of those struggling with mental health issues are not murderers or killers. Do some conditions elicit violence? Yes, we cannot deny it but the percentage is very small. Like most things we latch on to the extreme cases and make that our reference for understanding everything associated to it. So when we read about the individual struggling with schizophrenia who shot up a hotel lobby we automatically make that our starting point when trying to understand mental health and violence. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, we need more people to remind the world the mentally ill are not criminals, they are people struggling with life just like the rest of us.

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  3. Society does have a problem addressing unstable people and their needs. Many struggle and manage. Some don’t. There is little or no help/assistance and society – good people- would rather pretend it doesn’t exist – until it touches their quiet happy lives. It’s complex. No easy answers.
    We have a family member now in his mid 40’s who was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia his second year in college. People laugh about tin foil hats and window coverings, but it’s real. There is real danger during episodes – or when the medications stop working
    And there are more out there than people want to admit. Just prefer to pretend.
    Mental health issues are one component of the explosive anger and violence – not the only one, but one that must be recognized and addressed.

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      1. See, here mental illness is the last thing mentioned when an incident occurs.
        Why can’t the media and people just withhold judgement until all the facts are known? A snap judgement world and news is no longer objective or fact oriented. Not good in any case.
        Enjoyed wandering around your blog. Glad to find it. Hang in there

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