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

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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

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