Saturday, February 9, 2019
From Psychatric Services, December, 2018 by Jeffrey Swanson
Since 2000, more than 1.5 million people in the United States have been injured by a firearm, and a half-million have died. This total surpasses the combined U.S. military combat death toll of World Wars I and II. Of these gun deaths, 59% were suicides, and 37% were homicides (1). Mass shootings accounted for less than one-tenth of 1% (2).
Still, the national conversation about gun violence tends to focus on senseless rampages by troubled young men while public officials pay lip service to an oversimplified, gun-ignoring solution: “fix mental health.”
The mental-illness-and-mass-shooting narrative, as curated by the media, can perpetuate public misunderstanding and impede serious, broad-based efforts to both prevent gun deaths and improve mental health care.
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