Mental illness, media in today’s society


Just yesterday, a young boy who was attending a middle school in Nevada, wounded two students, shot and killed his teacher and then proceeded to kill himself in a random act of violence.

This is a devastating story as a little under a year ago, 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Although the shooter was much younger in this case, the concept of mental illness is still at the forefront of our minds.

Is violence directly linked to mental illness’ and ‘are all mentally ill people potentially dangerous’ are the questions circulating through the news media and in every household after the recent shooting in both Nevada and Connecticut.

Many researchers, psychologists and news programs immediately turned to the idea that untreated mental illness and our countries failing mental health system are the main reasons these massacres occur.

We ask ourselves many questions; are these mass murders preventable? If our society was more accepting to responding to the issue of mental illness, could we prevent school, mall, and movie theater shootings? Many of us are afraid to reference mental illness as a cause for violence, as we do not want to insult or put blame on those who do in fact have a mental illness.

There are certain disorders, which can create manic behavior, while other mental illnesses are harmless to others. By accusing those with mental illness, we are successfully convincing the public that all those who suffer from one are dangerous and capable of killing others. This idea, of course, is false, but our country faces the challenge of preventing these issues.

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