Newspaper article

Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Murders

Newspaper article

Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Murders

Article excerpt

I was diagnosed with depression in my teens. In my 20s, I received a diagnosis for anxiety.

I have tools to treat my mental illness. Therapy, prescription medicine, and skills I learned in therapy are the tools that I use in my daily life. Sometimes, I have really difficult days. Lots of days, I feel fine. Lately, there have been more of the difficult days. There have been more difficult days because everywhere I turn there is crisis. Mass shootings. Climate crisis. Outrageous medical bills that I can’t pay in full quite yet because my HSA was drained after $11,000 in out-of-pocket expenses last year. A mortgage payment in day care, in addition to a mortgage payment for a mortgage. My ability to manage my illness is tested every day.

Please don’t blame mental illness for mass murders that are overwhelmingly committed by white men seeking a vision of white supremacy mixed with guns. Mass shootings are not a mental health problem. They aren’t a video game problem. They aren’t a “we need more god” problem. Lots of other places have mental illness, video games, godlessness, etc., but they don’t have mass shootings.

A host of other gun problems as well

We have a lot of other gun problems, too. We do have people with mental illness who use guns to commit suicide. We have abusers who use guns to kill children, partners, and extended family members. We have people who use guns to resolve parking spot or zipper merge disputes. We have people pushed to the edge committing violent crimes against each other because of generation upon generation of violence committed against them through our systems, structure, and government.

Mental illness. It’s not to blame for these mass shootings. It’s not. But every time someone blames mental illness, it sends more people like me into the dark. Afraid to seek help. Afraid of stigma. …

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