Despite the fact that most people with mental illness are never violent, news stories about violence often focus on whether a person’s mental health problem was responsible, according to a new report.
Only about 4% of interpersonal violence in the United States can be attributed to mental illness, the study authors conclude, yet close to 40% of news stories about mental illness connect it to violent behavior that harms other people. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), people with severe mental illnesses are more than 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than people in the general population.
This is what stigma looks like. If society tells you that people with mental health issues are dangerous, and to be avoided, why would anyone dealing with one want to come forward and seek help?
But, read that last bit again, people with mental health issues are 10 times more likely to be a victim of violence, not a perpetrator.