Are People With Mental Illness More Violent?

Are People With Mental Illness More Violent?

People who commit violent crimes may seem mentally ill, but statistics say that’s not always the case.

Something made Steve Paddock decide to stock up on piles of ammunition and kill 58 people in Las Vegas at an outdoor concert, earlier this month.

Was it mental illness? Investigators are working hard to uncover details of his life and any possible motivation for the heinous act, but answers are slow to come. Paddock is described as a guarded, meticulously planned man who kept to himself and beyond that, answers remain a mystery. We might never uncover what drove him to do it.

Related: Patients With Gunshot Wounds Fare Better Traveling to Hospital in a Car: Study

What we do know is this: mental illness affects about 20% of Americans directly every day, and when a large public act of violence happens, the drive to find that culprit clinically unstable is strong.

Should we fear those who suffer from mental health problems?


Many people would find it easy to argue that someone such as Paddock, who plans a random act of deadly violence against so many innocent people, must certainly be off-center. There’s no doubt that something was wrong with his state of mind.

But others argue he was simply a cold-hearted murdered. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services only 3%-5% of all acts of violence involve someone with a serious mental illness.

In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are actually more than 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the rest of the population.

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week across the country. Paddock was a twisted, deranged, awful person who made extremely bad choices and while his motivations remain a mystery, reaching out to those around us who may be suffering with a mental health condition can help.

Check out these tips on bridging the gap and talking to someone with a mental illness. It might be what they need.

Photo credits: gorstevanovic/Shutterstock



Facebook Comments