Studies show that a relatively small percentage of violent crimes are perpetrated by people with diagnosed mental health issues and that gun access - not mental health symptoms - is the primary predictor of firearm violence.
"It's really just scapegoating people with mental health issues," Dr. Seth Trueger, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University, told Time magazine on Monday. While rates of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior are on the rise in the U.S., Trueger says other nations have similar problems and experience far fewer mass shootings.
Groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association are active in advocating for stronger gun laws and more widespread violence-prevention programs, and the American Psychological Association regularly cautions against blaming mass shootings on mental health.
"Routinely blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing," the APA says. "The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them. One critical factor is access to, and the lethality of, the weapons that are being used in these crimes."< Back to news