Mental Illness & Violence: Those With Mental Illness Are No More Violent Than Those Without It by Heather Holter

Mental Health
5 years ago

Mental Illness & Violence: Those With Mental Illness Are No More Violent Than Those Without It

I have seen over and over a violent act being blamed on mental illness. In my opinion, the mental illness is never the cause.

Those with mental illness are no more likely to be violent than the general population, according to They are actually more likely to be victims of violence. There are more accurate predictors that are risk factors to committing violent crimes: 

  • being male 
  • being a young adult having a troubled childhood 
  • having a drug or alcohol problem.

Nearly all crimes committed by a person with mental illness have one or more of the above risk factors. So, the mental illness is likely not the cause nor a risk factor toward committing violent crimes.

We need to stop stereotyping those with mental illness as violent. Twenty percent of the population, including myself, has a mental illness. We need to embrace those who suffer, help them, understand them and quit putting them in a box. We need to be inclusive instead of thinking of them as a separate category.

We are normal people. We have families. We are successful. We are strong. We are compassionate. We are overcomers. We are survivors. We are not violent.

I stand with those who have mental illness!

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Elisa Schmitz
Thank you for sharing your perspective, Heather Holter , on such a controversial subject. It is truly appreciated!

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