This is a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was published in the Winston Salem Journal. (Link below)
I cringe every time I hear that there has been a mass shooting because I anticipate the media coming to the conclusion that it’s because the person had a mental illness that they committed the crime.
Instead of using these tragedies to educate people about mental illnesses, the media adds to the stigma. Most people with a mental illness are not violent. In fact, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of crimes.
The media needs to stop misleading the public! They need to let people know where the resources are if they need help, that there is hope and they can recover. Several successful people throughout history have had a mental illness. Not everyone who suffers from a mental illness shoots people.
Many things regarding mental health need to change, including how they handle these stories. They are scaring people away from getting help. By doing this they are part of the problem.
Will someone get help if they fear that others will think they are going to shoot people?
The media should cover stories about people with mental illnesses who fight the battle every day and are winning. People with mental illnesses have feelings, goals, dreams, families, friends, co-workers, ambition and talents. They just have a chemical imbalance in their brain. The great majority of them are not violent.