The Favored Scapegoat
The damage of using mental illness as the reason for all mass shootings
"The media (and politicians) is/are so quick to pick up the mental illness scapegoat because it/they know(s) that people need to blame the tragedy on something" - Mike Hedrick
Politicians like Trump, Carson, Kasich, and Ryan have all publicly accused mental illness as the soul reason for extreme violent acts that have happened in America. When they do this they rarely talk about statistics and proof. These politicians have taken no action to try and improve the life of those who have a mental illness. If it truly is a belief of theirs why aren't they doing something productive and helpful? Items that would be beneficial to those struggling would be to improve mental health facilities, get insurance companies to cover therapy, and much more. Mental illness is a very much ignored topic. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America (confirmed by the CDC in a 2016 report), yet we leave it to non-profits to fix this. Non-profits such as To Write Love On Her Arms can only do so much with their donations.
Sadly, a majority of people today get their information from what their favorite people say instead of looking into facts on these accusations. Ignorance is harmful. Not educating yourself past your own belief can be detrimental.
Yes, some of the shooters from the last decade have had a diagnosed mental illness but as of a report done by the NSDUH in 2016 over 44.1 million people struggle with some form of mental illness. If mental illness was the leading cause then someone stating this should explain why the majority of those committing these acts are white straight men.
In recent data it is shown only around 5 percent of crimes in the U.S. are performed by people with a mental illness and that the percentage is the same for violent crimes as well. In an article published by MentalHealth.gov it is 10 times more likely for someone struggling with a mental illness to be a victim of a violent crime than to carry one out.
These are facts and statistics researched by licensed scientist and doctors. Not made up by someone trying to get their agenda heard or looking for a place to lay blame instead of the real problem. Stop listening to a certain Facebook group that so happens to line up with your beliefs before fact checking them.
The damage is severe when the public uses mental illness as a scapegoat and especially when there is no follow up in statements to remind people to not accuse all with a mental illness as violent. The stigma is already great when surrounding mental illness. It is a hand over the mouth of those struggling that gets tighter and tighter when people don't check their facts or learn more about this topic. It pushes people into the dark. Why would anyone reach out for help when the news is blaming something they have for violent crimes? People in the media and news that say such statements don't understand the damage they are inflicting by trying to find a scapegoat that is by no means the true problem behind violent crimes. Let's look at this fact one more time SUICIDE IS THE 10TH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN AMERICA. It is of a belief that the stigma being so strong, news media making it harder for people to WANT to come forward about mental illness, people not talking about it like it is some taboo subject and putting horrible stereotypes on mental illness that have contributed to that ranking.
Michael Stone, a psychiatrist at Columbia who maintains a database of mass shooters, said, “The mentally ill should not bear the burden of being regarded as the ‘chief’ perpetrators of mass murder."
The favored scapegoat put more power to the stigma surrounding mental illness and makes it harder for those struggling to speak up in fear of being wrongfully stereotyped.