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The connection between mental illness and mass shootings is weak, at best, because while mentally ill people can sometimes be a danger to themselves or others, very little violence is actually caused by mentally ill people. When the assailants are mentally ill, the anecdotes tend to overshadow the statistics. Both Jared Loughner, who shot and severely injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and the Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes, for example, had histories of mood disorders. But a study of convicted murderers in Indiana found that just 18 percent had a serious mental-illness diagnosis. Killers with severe mental illnesses, in that study, were actually less likely to target strangers or use guns as their weapon, and they were no more likely than the mentally healthy to have killed multiple people.
so pretty much echos what i posted earlier that if your mentally ill your vastly more likely to be a victim of violence then the one to commit the violence ,i have yet to see any studies covering what effect if any mental health medications play on these events but have heard that a lot of the mass shooters were on SSRIs or other types of medication so perhaps that may be an avenue to look into but i am far from a doctor so can offer no insight to the issue
et surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes. According to Appelbaum,25 less than 3% to 5% of US crimes involve people with mental illness, and the percentages of crimes that involve guns are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness. Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120 000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness.26 Meanwhile, a growing body of research suggests that mass shootings represent anecdotal distortions of, rather than representations of, the actions of “mentally ill” people as an aggregate group. By most estimates, there were fewer than 200 mass shootings reported in the United States—often defined as crimes in which four or more people are shot in an event, or related series of events—between 1982 and 2012.27,28 Recent reports suggest that 160 of these events occurred after the year 200029 and that mass shootings rose particularly in 2013 and 2014.28 As anthropologists and sociologists of medicine have noted, the time since the early 1980s also marked a consistent broadening of diagnostic categories and an expanding number of persons classifiable as “mentally ill.”30 Scholars who study violence prevention thus contend that mass shootings occur far too infrequently to allow for the statistical modeling and predictability—factors that lie at the heart of effective public health interventions. Swanson argues that mass shootings denote “rare acts of violence”31 that have little predictive or preventive validity in relation to the bigger picture of the 32 000 fatalities and 74 000 injuries caused on average by gun violence and gun suicide each year in the United States.32 Links between mental illness and other types of violence are similarly contentious among researchers who study such trends. Several studies33–35 suggest that subgroups of persons with severe or untreated mental illness might be at increased risk for violence in periods surrounding psychotic episodes or psychiatric hospitalizations. Writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Keers et al. found that the emergence of “persecutory delusions” partially explained associations between untreated schizophrenia and violence.36 At the same time, a number of seminal studies asserting links between violence and mental illness—including a 1990 study by Swanson et al.37 cited as fact by the New York Times in 201338—have been critiqued for overstating connections between serious mental illness and violent acts.39 Media reports often assume a binary distinction between mild and severe mental illness, and connect the latter form to unpredictability and lack of self-control. However, this distinction, too, is called into question by mental health research. To be sure, a number of the most common psychiatric diagnoses, including depressive, anxiety, and attention-deficit disorders, have no correlation with violence whatsoever.18 Community studies find that serious mental illness without substance abuse is also “statistically unrelated” to community violence.40 At the aggregate level, the vast majority of people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts—only about 4% of violence in the United States can be attributed to people diagnosed with mental illness.41,42 A number of studies also suggest that stereotypes of “violent madmen” invert on-the-ground realities. Nestor theorizes that serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia actually reduce the risk of violence over time, as the illnesses are in many cases marked by social isolation and withdrawal.43 Brekke et al. illustrate that the risk is exponentially greater that individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness will be assaulted by others, rather than the other way around. Their extensive surveys of police incident reports demonstrate that, far from posing threats to others, people diagnosed with schizophrenia have victimization rates 65% to 130% higher than those of the general public.44 Similarly, a meta-analysis by Choe et al. of published studies comparing perpetuation of violence with violent victimization by and against persons with mental illness concludes that “victimization is a greater public health concern than perpetration.”33(p153) Media reports sound similar themes: a 2013 investigation by the Portland Press Herald found that “at least half” of persons shot and killed by police in Maine suffered from diagnosable mental illness.45–48