Gun violence

is not linked to mental illness

As I listened to Mr. Trump speak prior to his departure for his New Jersey golf club, I lost count of the number of times he linked gun violence and mental illness. “This isn’t a gun problem,” he said. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level.”

So why, in February 2017 after the NRA had padded Trump’s pockets with millions of dollars, did he repeal an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to flag the potential sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses?

Now, as always, he’s changed his narrative because it no longer works to his political advantage.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association reports (with statistics) that people with serious mental illness are rarely violent. Only 3 to 5 percent of all cases of violence, including but not limited to firearms, involve a perpetrator with a mental illness.

In point of fact, people with serious mental illness are 12 times more likely to become victims of violence than the overall U.S. population.

Therefore, not only is there a lack of evidence linking gun violence and mental illness, but Mr. Trump’s false gun violence/mental illness connection only serves to heighten the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

I have long been involved in mental health care and our most difficult challenge is eliminating the stigma against those with mental disease.

Pat Ivey

Locust Grove

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