Outgunned: Stigma Over Mental Illness Linked to Gun Violence

Outgunned: Stigma Over Mental Illness Linked to Gun Violence

Clearly, African Americans are not immune to mental illness. We, too, face mental-health issues that lead to and stem from gun violence. According to NAMI, or the National Alliance for Mental Illness, blacks are disproportionately more likely to face social circumstances that increase their chances of developing a mental illness. For instance, African Americans are more likely to be the victims of gun violence, and a 1999 study suggested that 25 percent of African-American youths exposed to violence met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. The psychological trauma of gun violence may lead some children to arm themselves “for protection,” or desensitize them so that they feel less hesitation about engaging in violent acts.

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