If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
CSGV has written extensively about the link — or lack thereof — between mental illness and violence. Research shows that mental illness alone plays a relatively minor role in interpersonal violence. Suggesting otherwise — as politicians and others often do — further stigmatizes those who live with mental illness, the vast majority of whom will never be violent.
Rather than incorrectly blaming mental illness for gun homicide, CSGV focuses on the real problem associated with guns and mental illness: suicide. Approximately 20,000 individuals die from firearm suicide each year. Suicides comprise nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States, and firearms are the most frequently used method of suicide. While mental illness is not a significant risk factor for violence against others, it does increase the risk of suicide; most individuals who died by suicide exhibited symptoms of mental illness prior to their death.
Suicide is often an impulsive act in a brief moment of intense despair; if a gun is readily available, a temporary crisis usually becomes a permanent loss. Reducing access to firearms during these critical moments can save lives.
CSGV is committed to pursuing policies that reduce access to deadly weapons and ensure those in crisis get the help they need without stigmatizing those who live with mental illness.
Website: Prevent Firearm Suicide
Fact Sheet: U.S. Gun Deaths: Suicides, 2018
Fact Sheet: Mental Illness and Guns
Paper: “Limiting access to lethal means: applying the social ecological model for firearm suicide prevention”, Injury Prevention
Fact Sheet: “Firearm Suicide in the United States”