Psychologist: Don’t blame mass shootings on mental illness


Jeff Temple is a psychologist and a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He’s also a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Recently he wrote a column with the headline of “Don’t be so quick to blame mental illness in shootings.” He says that we shouldn’t mistake correlation for causation. He also says that the majority of people with mental illness are non-violent and rather blames things like what he calls unfettered access to weapons, racism and hate, and misogyny.

In my opinion rational people, like myself, are not saying that mental health is the cause of mass shootings however as someone who suffers from a mental illness what we’re saying is that mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized and more readily available. I also argue that there needs to be discussion on when the safety of the public outweighs the privacy of the mentally ill. Also , I agree with Dr. Temple that most people with mental illness are not violent however the ones that are show a very intense violent nature.

Adam Lanza was said to have been schizophrenic. NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak had a history of psychotic episodes and hallucinations. Cho Seung-Hui, was court ordered to receive mental health treatment but never went. Most recently Seattle Pacific University gunman Aaron Ybarra not only went off his meds but also had at least three psychotic episodes involving police or the ER but was not detained because his mother refused to have him committed.

While they’re may have been other extenuating circumstances you can not say that mental illness did not have a part in a lot of mass shootings.

I’m not saying that everyone with a mental illness is a potential killer however as I previously said mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized so people won’t feel ashamed about getting help but we also need to discern when involuntary commitment is best before someone becomes a potential danger like the gunmen listed above.

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