Last week was the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. One year ago, emotions were high and misguided statements such as “we need a national mental health registry” were made by ordinary and high-profiled citizens. Undoubtedly, mental illness played a role in that tragedy, but let's look at the numbers:
A 13-year study found that people with mental illness are responsible for approximately 5% of all violent acts that occurred during that time period.
The vast majority of mass kilings are committed by individuals without a history of mental illness.
A person with a mental illness is 5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than the perpetrator.
In 2010, 13% of violent crimes were categorized as intimate partner crimes, meaning you are 2.5 times more likely to be victimized by your partner than by someone with a mental illness.
Let me repeat that, your partner is 2.5 times more likely to violently act out toward you than someone with a mental illness.
Maybe we need a registry of all intimate partners.
How common is mental illness?
Here are statistics that are fairly common among psychological circles:
About 25% of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, with a serious mental illness found in about 6% of the population in a given year.
Approximately 7% of the adult population suffer from a major depressive episode in a given year
Approximately 18% of the adult population suffer from an anxiety disorder in a given year. That's essentially 1 out of 5 adults.
The prevalence rates of other disorders such as personality disorders, OCD, PTSD, bipolar, and schizophrenia range from 1-3% of the population in a given year for each disorder.
So sorry, mental illness is more common than you probably assumed. More importantly, those with mental illness aren't ticking time bombs, even if that's how they are portrayed by the media and others.
So instead of blaming those who are struggling with mental illness, provide support and remember that mental illness is a challenge for tens of millions Americans every day. Chances are you already know someone struggling with a mental illness right now.
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