If you have been following mass shootings for the last few years, one narrative has been a constant call to action on mental health usually by a politician. This raises the question does this country have a mental health problem? The answer is rather complicated.
The answer may appear to be obvious with the recent string of mass shootings. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only three to five percent of violent crime can be attributed to severe mental illness.
According to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, who has been tracking mass shootings since 1966, only 14.8 percent of mass shooters have a diagnosed mental illness.
“To Shoot up a school, you have to be crazy.” Said 2-year Psychology major Caroline Phan. The thought of shooting up a school was so anathema to her that she is certain that a sane person couldn’t do it.
Chabot Psychology Professor Felicia Perez said, “in a very rare set of circumstances (a mass shooter) could be sane if they had a traumatic past or were pushed.” She went on to contribute the previous statistics of only 14.8 percent.
One of the few issues that President Obama and President Trump are in agreement on is that this country’s mental health services are inadequate. Both Presidents would cite lack of availability of psychiatrists in this country as an issue.
This also raises the question do people who have mental health issues feel a stigmatism toward getting help. Professor Perez states that “masculinity” may be a factor in preventing people from seeking help. She went on to point out that most violent crime is committed by males. According to FBI crime statistics, 78.2 percent of violent crime is committed by males and 88.8 percent of murders.
If you or somebody you know is in need of mental health services Chabot Counselors can help or refer you to someone who can help, they are located in building 700 and can be called at 510-723-2642. If you don’t feel comfortable with school services, you can call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1‑877‑726‑4727 for a referral.