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11 January 2011

Slate on Violence and Mental Health

Here is a neat piece from Slate. I've selected some tidbits:

Severe mental illness, on its own, is not an explanation for violence….

…[P]sychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone's propensity or motive for violence.

…[I]t's likely that some of the people in your local bar are at greater risk of committing murder than your average person with mental illness.

…[H]ere's an analogy: Soccer hooligans are much more likely to be violent when they attend a match, but if you tell me that your friend has gone to a soccer match, I'll know nothing about how violent a person he is.

To put it in perspective, statistics show you are about three times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike [than a stranger with schizophrenia].

Numerous studies show that crimes by people with psychiatric problems are over-reported, usually with gross inaccuracies that give a false impression of risk.


Thanks to Dr. Brent Harger for passing on the article.

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