Mass shootings, mental illness, stigma, violence, mental health policy


Research suggests that mass shootings can increase mental health stigma, reinforce stereotypes that people with mental illness are violent, and influence public policy. This article examines mental health policy initiatives resulting from the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado within the context of existing research about mental illness, suicide, substance abuse and gun violence. Previous legislation that restricts access to firearms among persons with mental illness is reviewed. The article suggests that gun control legislation that focuses on persons with mental illness is not supported by research, may create barriers to treatment, and may have limited efficacy in promoting public safety.

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