FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2019
202-408-0061 x 1017
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Marks Mental Health Month
Washington, DC — Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Month — an opportunity for people across the nation to share their experiences, learn more about mental health, and actively work to destigmatize mental illness and help-seeking.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Director of Public Health Adelyn Allchin issued the following statement:
“When politicians and others discuss gun violence prevention, it is not uncommon for mental health to be included in their talking points — but not for the reasons it should be. Despite research showing that mental illness is not a significant risk factor for interpersonal violence and only four percent of interpersonal violence is attributable to mental illness alone, some policymakers continue to perpetuate a false narrative that mental illness is the root cause of gun violence. This false narrative further stigmatizes individuals living with mental illness while failing to address the root causes of gun violence.
“This month and every month, we must push back on the incorrect notion that mental illness is synonymous with violence. Rather than focusing on mental illness, new gun laws — like extreme risk laws — should consider data-driven behavioral risk factors for dangerousness, such as a history of domestic violence.
“Additionally, we must devote more energy to preventing firearm suicides, which comprise three out of five gun deaths. By temporarily removing guns from those in suicidal crisis, we can save lives and ensure people have the opportunity to access appropriate care.
“Finally, we also acknowledge that being exposed to gun violence or living in fear of it is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our communities. No child should be afraid to play outside or go to school. No adult should be afraid to go out in public. Our mental health suffers when we constantly feel unsafe. We must work together to bring a sense of wellbeing and security to our neighborhoods and communities through evidence-based policies and interventions.”