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The Stigma Of Mental Illness As The Cause Of Mass Shootings

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Introduction After a mass shooting, America frantically searches for the cause of the sudden and violent event. Society has repeatedly blamed the mentally ill, despite the fact that there is little correlation between violence and mental illness. In the past few decades, there have been numerous highly publicized mass shootings in which the shooters were mentally ill, such as the Virginia Tech Shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. These few, but detailed examples of violence committed by the mentally ill suggests that these situations occur frequently, however, they do not. In order to address the repeated blaming of mental illness as the cause of mass shootings, one must understand that the stigma of mental illness in society and the negative media portrayals of…show more content…
Stigma of Mental Illness The stigma of mental illness has a staggering presence in American society. Stigma is “... a socio-cultural process by which members of marginalized groups are labeled by other people as abnormal, shameful, or otherwise undesirable” (Michaels, Lopez, & Corrigan, 2012). A 2013 nationwide survey revealed that 46% of Americans believed that the seriously mentally ill were more likely to be dangerous than members of the the general public (McGinty, Webster, & Barry, 2014). These negative attitudes are also held by mental health professionals, which most likely results from them “...working with patients when they are in the most disturbed phase of their illness, despite this not being a typical characteristic of everyday mental illness” (Cleary, Deacon, Jackson, Andrew, & Chan, 2012). Society tends to view individual violent acts as a comprehensive representation of the
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