(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT

More details about suspected Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza have emerged with sources saying he might have suffered from a mental illness. CNN has the video.

“The older brother reportedly told ABC News that the shooter had a personality disorder; he mentioned autism.”

Mass shootings in the U.S. always bring the gun control debate to the fore, but a TIME Magazine correspondent tells the BBC there’s another issue that needs more attention.

“One common thread in a lot of these incidents are severely disturbed people who did not get the mental health assistance they need.”

Several outlets compared this shooting to the one in Aurora, Colorado earlier this year and questioned the attention given to the issue of mental health.

“How many more massacres are we going to have to report on before we begin to take mental health issues seriously... How much longer are we going to do this before we change things...”

“We do have a problem as a society in identifying those who need help so that they won’t do these things.”

But Poynter suggests an emphasis on mental health is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of media outlets. Without them, the conversation can’t begin.

“We might not be able to answer why someone would gun down kindergartners, but couldn’t we help our audience figure out what society is doing for the mentally ill?”

But even labeling a person as mentally ill can be misleading. A writer for Slate.com comments on the effect of using the term itself...

“This presumed link between psychiatric disorders and violence has become so entrenched in the public consciousness that the entire weight of the medical evidence is unable to shift it. Severe mental illness, on its own, is not an explanation for violence...”

To the contrary, a writer for Care2 says mentally ill persons are actually more likely to be victims of violence.

“Make no mistake: the United States is in a state of mental health crisis, and this needs to be addressed...”

“...25% of the people in this country living with mental illness can expect to be victims of violent crime, in contrast with 3% of the general population.”

The New York Times referenced accounts from people that knew Adam Lanza, saying he had Asperger’s syndrome, which is considered to be a more highly functioning form of autism.

 

School Shooting Raises Media Debate on Mental Health

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Dec 14, 2012

School Shooting Raises Media Debate on Mental Health

(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT

More details about suspected Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza have emerged with sources saying he might have suffered from a mental illness. CNN has the video.

“The older brother reportedly told ABC News that the shooter had a personality disorder; he mentioned autism.”

Mass shootings in the U.S. always bring the gun control debate to the fore, but a TIME Magazine correspondent tells the BBC there’s another issue that needs more attention.

“One common thread in a lot of these incidents are severely disturbed people who did not get the mental health assistance they need.”

Several outlets compared this shooting to the one in Aurora, Colorado earlier this year and questioned the attention given to the issue of mental health.

“How many more massacres are we going to have to report on before we begin to take mental health issues seriously... How much longer are we going to do this before we change things...”

“We do have a problem as a society in identifying those who need help so that they won’t do these things.”

But Poynter suggests an emphasis on mental health is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of media outlets. Without them, the conversation can’t begin.

“We might not be able to answer why someone would gun down kindergartners, but couldn’t we help our audience figure out what society is doing for the mentally ill?”

But even labeling a person as mentally ill can be misleading. A writer for Slate.com comments on the effect of using the term itself...

“This presumed link between psychiatric disorders and violence has become so entrenched in the public consciousness that the entire weight of the medical evidence is unable to shift it. Severe mental illness, on its own, is not an explanation for violence...”

To the contrary, a writer for Care2 says mentally ill persons are actually more likely to be victims of violence.

“Make no mistake: the United States is in a state of mental health crisis, and this needs to be addressed...”

“...25% of the people in this country living with mental illness can expect to be victims of violent crime, in contrast with 3% of the general population.”

The New York Times referenced accounts from people that knew Adam Lanza, saying he had Asperger’s syndrome, which is considered to be a more highly functioning form of autism.

 

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