Do I Look Violent To You?
I have been asked the question of “are mentally ill people violent?” And it is a commonly asked question due to the lack of understanding and the stigma attached to mental health.
The newspaper headlines love nothing better than stigmatise mental health, I am sure you have read the horror stories of the “crazy women” who stabbed, beat or throttled some incident bystander all because she was mentally ill. This view given in the media does nothing to help the perception that all those with a mental health problem must be a danger to others. While this does happen, it’s a far cry from the truth.
Unlike what the media and films or the books tell you, people with mental health problems are not dangerous, we are made out to be freakshows. I have never in all my years of suffering with a mental health problem, ever been aggressive to anyone.
I am mentally ill, yet I pose no threat or danger to anyone but myself. I have placed myself in venerable situations and the likelihood is it would be I that was a victim of violence rather than a perpetrator.
Out of 1,564 people convicted for homicide in England and Wales between April 1996 and April 1999, 164 (10 per cent) were found to have had symptoms of mental health problems at the time of the offence
The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. In fact, 95 per cent of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health problem
Contrary to popular belief, the incidence of homicide committed by people diagnosed with mental health problems has stayed at a fairly constant level since the 1990s.
The fear of random unprovoked attacks on strangers by people with mental health problems is unjustified. This has been highlighted by a US finding that patients with psychosis who are living in the community are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for such a crime.
People with mental health problems are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others: 90 per cent of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress.
You can read more facts from Minds direct site.
In fact mentally ill people are four times more likely to be a victim of violence, according to an international study. One in four has been attacked in the past year, suggests the Lancet journal.
Are mentally ill people violent? No more violent than a non-mentally ill person is my answer.