South Lakes Sentinel

The link between mental health and gun violence

Benjamin Zalles, Staff Writer

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Recently, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the topic of gun violence and its sources. Although there have been several proponents to enforce stricter gun laws, more attention could be focused on mental health and how it relates to gun violence. Treatments for mental illnesses have continued to improve in recent years, but there are still many people who cannot get the help they desperately need. According to current research, at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings in the United States (from 1900-2017) were committed by people that were diagnosed with a mental disorder or had shown symptoms of one.

In 1963, The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act was signed by President John F. Kennedy. Mental health treatment funding shifted from federal to state governments, shutting down large asylums that were understaffed, provided treatments that proved to be ineffective, and where patients were kept for decades.

Today, community mental health centers exist across the nation. Over the years, they have dramatically improved in quality and treatments provided. However, many institutions are still underfunded, understaffed, and very expensive, making it inaccessible to countless people. The lack of resources and money has forced people out of facilities, leaving them homeless and without treatment.

Mental health is a serious issue that requires more research and funding. People need access to effective and affordable treatments if this nation is going to make progress towards ending gun violence. Although mental health treatment is only a part of the problem, it is a significant element that must be brought to the forefront of the discussion regarding gun control.

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The link between mental health and gun violence