Research shows that people living with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of a violent crime as opposed to the ones committing them. Yet a formulaic response tends to follow tragedies: Mental illness is bad and it’s what caused this to happen.
The mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday is no exception to the rule. A day after the tragedy, President Donald Trump said that mental illness, not the issue of gun control, was to blame for that massacre that killed 26 people.
“This isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said during his visit to Japan. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”
But experts say a drawing a simplistic connection between mental illness and severe violence not only sends the wrong message about psychological disorders, it stigmatizes the millions of people who live with mental health conditions.