Listed below is a well done article from Politico featuring responses to
the school shooting in Florida from prominent national mental health
advocates including MHA National Director, Paul Gionfriddo. Sadly the
United States has more school shootings in a year then most countries do
over decades. Yet, even though there are similar mental health issues in
other countries (in many cases even worse than in the United States), why
are there so few school shootings in those other countries? There are a
lot of complex reason for the epidemic of school shootings. To scapegoat
mental illness alone is a cop out and hurtful to the millions in our
country that deal with mental health related issues every day. Our hearts
go out to the families of the 17 people who were killed in this tragedy. In
their honor, lets once and for all provide real solutions to this issue and
not more ‘noise’.

Advocates warn against linking mass shootings, mental illness after Trump tweet

By AYANNA ALEXANDER

02/15/2018 06:55 PM EST

Advocates cautioned Thursday against making assumptions about the links
between mental health issues and violence after President Donald Trump said
the suspect in a mass shooting at a Florida high school was “mentally
disturbed.”

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even
expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump tweeted
Thursday.
In televised remarks on the shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 17
people, he said his administration was tackling “the difficult issue of
mental health.”

Certain mental illnesses can be associated with violent behavior, but so
can many other factors, said Ron Honberg, senior policy adviser at the
National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“There are a lot of factors that can cause violence,” he said. “Untreated
psychosis may be one, but there are definitely other factors.”

“It feels like mental illness is being used as a political football to
deflect attention away from some other important issues, like whether we
need sensible gun control laws in this country,” he said.

Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America, said linking
mental health and violence “frightens” people dealing with such illnesses
and can keep them from seeking professional help.

*“It makes individuals dealing with it feel less than,” Gionfriddo said.
“When violence gets equated with that [mental illness], it makes people
more reluctant to talk about it and it does a tremendous amount of harm.”*

Advocacy groups such as the American Mental Health Counselors Association
say relatively few violent acts are attributable to mental health issues.

“Only 3 percent of all violent acts are committed by people with serious
mental illness, and about 1 percent of all violence appears to be committed
by people with serious mental illness using firearms to kill strangers,”
said AMHCA executive director Joel Miller.

Gionfriddo said in addition to warning against tying mental illness to
violence, he disapproves of the recent discussion of Trump’s own
well-being.

Dozens of doctors urged

Trump’s physician to evaluate the president’s neurological health last
month after a book raised questions about his stability. A White House
doctor later gave Trump a clean bill of health overall and said

he performed “well” on a cognitive screening exam.

“I think it’s totally inappropriate for people to pass judgment on the
president. It’s being dismissive,” Gionfriddo said. “Plenty of presidents
have had mental illness, and they’ve been successful because mental illness
is not an impediment. But, it’s also like saying that Trump’s erratic
behavior means he has mental illness, and that doesn’t help those dealing
with it, either.”

 

Glenn Liebman, CEO
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.

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