Will Gun Control Increase the Stigma of Mental Illness?

Many including Sandy Springs residents support a background check for mental illness.


Mental health has become a significant aspect of the gun control debate. President Obama’s proposal includes a mental health program. 

What do you think this means for the perception of mental illness? In recent years celebrities and non-celebrities have been forthcoming about their battles with mental illness, such as anger management issues, depression, or a bipolar condition. And autism has been the subject of debate since the Newtown shootings, as media reports question whether gunman Adam Lanza had autism.

In December, Sandy Springs therapist Kellie Edwards, who treats autism clients said, “Thoughts of harming others is not something that is associated with the autism spectrum. People do not need to be afraid of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.”

If there is a new motivation among many to have teachers armed at schools. Is it possible that there will be a similar tendency to be critical of mental illness? 

Jay Boylan, of Sandy Springs, is a gun enthusiast. He believes in a right to bear arms and says Congress needs to figure out a reasonable plan for gun control.

It’s also clear to him that the mass shootings in recent years shows there has not been enough emphasis on mental health in background checks, he said.

“If you look at all of the circumstances what is the consistent issue – mental health and gun control,” Boylan said. “That’s where we tend to lose focus.”

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

See also:

Weapons Debate Draws Gun Enthusiasts and Buyers to Local Range

Sandy Springs Therapist Explains Autism/Asperger's

Eddie Reece, MS, LPC January 17, 2013 at 12:24 AM
When people are afraid, they want certainty and there is none. In the search for a simple cause and effect, mental illness is being "targeted" as the culprit. If people believe that mental illness causes mass shootings, then the already overbearing stigma of seeking mental health services may rise. On the other hand, I hope that with mental illness being talked about, some reasonable views will come through. My wish is that the term mental illness would go away. Everyday emotional issues like marital problems are grouped with problems mass shooters have.That association increases the stigma of reaching out for help. In my opinion, most everyone could use the help of a psychotherapist. If regular folk could go to a therapist without being thought of as mentally ill, then we'd be closer to a society with less demand for certainty and less fear of facing complicated issues with the thoughtfulness they deserve. Eddie Reece, MS, LPC Psychotherapist
HaroldAMaio January 17, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Will Gun Control Increase the Stigma of Mental Illness? No more than journalism already does.


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