Monday, July 7, 2014

Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy

Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide published in the Annals of Epidemiology describes epidemiologic evidence concerning risk of gun violence and suicide linked to psychiatric disorders, in contrast to media-fueled public perceptions of the dangerousness of mentally ill individuals, and evaluates effectiveness of policies and laws designed to prevent firearms injury and mortality associated with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The results found that media accounts of mass shootings by disturbed individuals galvanize public attention and reinforce popular belief that mental illness often results in violence. Epidemiologic studies show that the large majority of people with serious mental illnesses are never violent. However, mental illness is strongly associated with increased risk of suicide, which accounts for over half of US firearms–related fatalities.

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