Myth-busting the Relationship Between Mental Illness and Violence

Last week’s on-air shooting in Virginia of a reporter and cameraman re-poses a question that simply won’t let go. What is the connection between mental illness and violence, if any? Columbine, Newtown, Washington Navy Yard, and now Roanoke, Virginia, are all names that force the question to bubble to the surface. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time we confront it. Fact vs. fiction The proliferation of today’s media makes it too easy to draw conclusions that aren’t necessarily based in the evidence, often blurring the line between fact and fiction, a view supported by research. For example, news stories on mental illness either focus on the condition’s negative aspects or medical treatments, yet they don’t cover the many positive…

Read More

A More Perfect Union: U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage Helps Ease Stigma and Improve Mental Health

While not the first nation to assert the rights of gay couples, last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is especially historic when considered against the backdrop of the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered to be the catalyst for the gay liberation movement, and the removal of “ego-syntonic homosexuality” from the list of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1973. For American social (and legal) policy, this ruling came at lightning speed – within the Baby Boomer lifetime. Access to health care coverage is associated with improved health and lower mortality1 – improving both the health of the nation and the financial well-being of the health care system. So what does this mean for the health…

Read More