False Association: Mental Health and Gun Violence

Written By :

Category :


Posted On :

Share This :

The Texas Coalition for Healthy Minds joins with the
following organizations; National Council for Behavioral Health, Coalition for
Smart Safety, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, American Psychiatric
Association, Mental Health America, and National Disability Rights Network to stop
the false association of gun violence with mental health issues.

  • The overwhelming consistent and clear evidence
    has clearly shown that mental health disabilities are not predictors of gun
    violence (Coalition for Smart Safety, 2019).
  • In fact, recent studies show that only 4% of all
    gun violence is committed by people with mental health disabilities (American
    Journal of Public Health, 2015).
  • 95-97% of gun violence is not caused by a mental illness (Annals of Epidemiology, 2014).
  • The Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health concluded
    that the contribution of mental health conditions to violence in our society is
    very small.

Research by the American Psychiatric Association shows that
“no technique will be available to identify those who will act violently, that
will not simultaneously identify a large group of people who would not.” (
American Journal of Psychiatry, March 2012).

“As a nation, we must not allow people with mental illness
to become scapegoats for the urgent problem of mass violence, particularly
perpetrated by individuals with guns.” (National Council for Behavioral Health,

Hate, anger, and racism are not mental health
conditions and cannot be solved by the mental health system. People with
mental health conditions are far more likely to be victims of violence than
perpetrators.  Even “severe” mental illness, alone, is not statistically
related to future violence.  Given all of this, trying to solve the gun
violence epidemic in this country by “doing something” about mental health will
not address the problem. Every other country in the world has citizens
with mental health conditions, but they do not experience gun violence at the
same rates as in the US. (National Disability Rights Network 2018)

The continued mischaracterization of people with mental illness
consistently incorrectly labels and stereotypes this population, increasing
stigma.  The real focus of legislation
should be focused on preventing gun violence, not mischaracterizing the causes
for this persistent and deadly issue.