The Mental Illness Dilemna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Mental Illness Dilemna
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Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:51am

Advocates for the mentally ill are faced with a deep dilemma each time extreme and deadly crimes are perpetrated by those with a mental illness. Obviously, such acts are not sane or normal; it beggars common sense to suggest that a person who is thinking straight would choose to kill or wound dozens of strangers. And yet most mentally ill people — even those with conditions that have been linked to violence, such as addictions and schizophrenia — are no threat to anyone other than themselves.

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For the mentally ill, who might be seen as canaries in this coal mine, stigma serves to wall them off from the social support and medical care that are necessary to spur recovery and prevent illness from leading to tragedy. As a society, we need to understand that risk does not equal destiny — and that believing it does is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease or even to appreciate its association with violence, but to view people with schizophrenia as hopeless can in some cases worsen their course unnecessarily.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/31/mass-murder-and-mental-illness-the-interplay-of-stigma-culture-and-disease/?iid=hl-article-mostpop1#ixzz22J3U2hHn

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 4:14pm

I think our justice system is terribly flawed when a jury does determine sombody innocent by reason of insanity, When somebody - mentally ill OR not - crosses that line they should be tried the same way, JMO..  I think we remove a stigma when we stop excusing it,

I agree that our justice system is terribly flawed, but the not guilty by reason of insanity defense has truly pathetic statistics. The chances of it working are minuscule. "Attempts to use the insanity defense as an excuse" happens a lot on TV, but in real life it is both rare and ineffective.

Successful NGRI defenses are rare. While rates vary from state to state, on average less than one defendant in 100—0.85 percent— actually raises the insanity defense nationwide. Interestingly, states with higher rates of NGRI defenses tend to have lower success rates for NGRI defenses; the percentage of all defendants found NGRI is fairly constant, at around 0.26 percent.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 2:43pm

Having said that, I think our justice system is terribly flawed when a jury does determine sombody innocent by reason of insanity, When somebody - mentally ill OR not - crosses that line they should be tried the same way, JMO.. 

Mental illness alone does not constitute legal insanity or any type of insanity really.

Someone may be depressed, which is a mental illness, but that doesn't make them insane, but some people confuse the two. Therefore, society looks at all people claiming to be depressed, as being insane or making excusing.

 

 

 

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