Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 6, 2014 at 6:40 AM

Mental illness: Move beyond stigma of violence

Thank you for your inclusion of Jennifer Stuber’s guest column “Focus on suicide prevention to reduce gun deaths” [Opinion, Oct. 1]. Stuber’s column invites us to question the ways in which widespread stigmas about mental illness and its relationship to violence have powerful personal, social and political impacts.

The current debate about firearm background checks focuses on homicide — not suicide — prevention and often construes people with mental illnesses as likely perpetrators of violent crimes. Such underlying stigmas reinforce the perception that people with mental illnesses are disproportionately violent and dangerous. Research, however, tells us that a diagnosis of mental illness alone does not predict violence. Given this disconnect, we must question whether our social assumptions and political actions regarding mental illness are informed by stigma or fact.

In our society, where one in four of us lives with a mental illness of some kind, it is critical that we disrupt such misinformed and discriminatory portrayals. Currently, only one-third of those with a mental illness receive treatment. If we could counter our negative and inaccurate social perceptions, perhaps more individuals would be enabled to seek and receive mental-health services.

Mollie Gabrys-Lake, Seattle

Comments | More in Gun control | Topics: gun control, mental illness, Mollie Gabrys-Lake

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►