Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Mental illness is not a scapegoat for murder

Yesterday's headlines were written to cause fear.
  • Trump publicly blames mental illness for mass shootings.
  • 'This is a mental health problem': Trump on the Texas shooting
  • Trump’s right, this is a mental health issue
  • Pat Robertson Blames Texas Shooting on Antidepressants

As if it wasn't enough to be petrified of immigrants and Muslims when people of colour commit mass murder, we are also reminded that mental illness is also a cause for fear. 

What we've learned from US shootings and attacks over the past few years is that the colour of the attacker's skin is important in deciding the causative factor and motivation. As soon as perpetrator of the Texas church shooting was named, mental illness was identified as the sole cause and reason for the mass shooting.
“I think that mental health is your problem here. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn’t a gun situation.” - Donald Trump
The man has a history of domestic abuse, but as of yet there's been no proven history of mental health problems.

But once again, mental illness has been used as a scapegoat for murder. White men are not responsible for their crimes, an illness they may or not even have is. And as such, they cannot be held responsible for their actions in the same way people of colour are.

1 in 4 of us are currently experiencing a mental illness. 4 in 4 of us have mental health.
Are we all to be feared? Might we all be potential murderers? I am mentally ill, is my illness to blame for everything I do?

Studies have proven that people with mental health illnesses are no more likely to be violent than the general population. We are far more likely to harm ourselves than others.
People in every country have mental health problems, but yet no other country experiences mass shootings to the extent that America does.

Trump and his supporters are demonizing those suffering with mental health problems. We have becomes just another vulnerable group for them to attack and fear.

Trump's comments yesterday prove we are nowhere close to ending the stigma around mental illness. We have a long, long way to go.

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