Routinely Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Illness Is ‘Unfounded And Stigmatizing.’ So What Are The Risk Factors To Look For?
Experts say that problems with self esteem and perceived social rejection are common characteristics among people who commit mass shootings, as is having experienced significant trauma over an extended period of time. “If you’re going to do screening, you need to screen for multiple things, and mental health is only one of them,” Dan Flannery, director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention at Case Western University, told NBC News. “You need to understand what’s going on in and consider stress points — what’s happening at work, in domestic life and their social media activity. If someone belongs to a lot of hate groups on social media, that’s a red flag.”
Mental Illness Isn't A Major Risk Factor For Gun Violence, But Here's What Is
Having access to a gun is more of a risk factor for violence than being diagnosed with a mental illness, research shows. That stands in stark contrast to a statement President Donald Trump made Monday in addressing the nation after this weekend’s mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said. (Sullivan, 8/6)
Detroit Free Press:
Trump Said 'Mental Illness And Hatred Pulls The Trigger' In Mass Shootings. Experts Beg To Differ.
Following a bloody weekend in Texas and Ohio where mass shootings left 31 people dead and dozens more injured, President Donald Trump called for culture change to a stop the glorification of violence in video games and online platforms, an end to bigotry and hatred and reforms to mental health laws. But his statements about mental health -— referring to mass shooters as "mentally ill monsters" and suggesting "involuntary confinement" for some people with mental illness — were off the mark, said Kevin Fischer, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (Shamus, 8/8)
Why Mental Illness Can’t Predict Mass Shootings
Four mental health experts who spoke with the PBS NewsHour described President Donald Trump’s conflation on Monday that “mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun” as “completely false” and “irresponsible.” (Akpan, 8/7)
Politico Pulse Check:
Gun Violence Is More Than A 'Mental Health Crisis'
A pair of mass shootings have renewed the spotlight on the nation's high rate of gun deaths. POLITICO's Dan Diamond reviews why health care groups say that gun violence deaths represent a "public health crisis" — and how GOP congressmen and the current Surgeon General avoid using that term. (8/8)
Tampa Bay Times:
On Gun Violence, Ron DeSantis Stresses Mental Health, Internet
Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to “recesses of the internet” where people can share “vile” views and a need to look at white nationalism --- along with other causes --- when asked Wednesday about tackling mass violence. But he also said, after a Purple Heart dedication ceremony at Tallahassee National Cemetery, that it’s not productive to any gun-safety dialogue to focus on partisan politics, as Democrats continued to criticize President Donald Trump after two mass shootings over the weekend. (Turner, 8/7)
And, when following the coverage gets to be too much, mental health experts say step away from social media and news —
When Bad News Gets To Be Too Much
Maybe it happened for you after the Parkland or San Bernardino shootings. Or when attacks in France, Brussels, New Zealand and other faraway regions came in such quick succession there wasn't time for mourners of one trauma to disperse before the next took its place. Maybe it was earlier -- after Sandy Hook or maybe even Columbine. Maybe it's happening for you now after the Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton shootings. No matter when it happened, what you felt is how sadness and prayer can harden into palpable exhaustion. (Willingham, 8/7)