As a person who suffers from a mental illness, I do not went to be lumped in with disturbed people who commit acts of excessive violence. The man responsible for the shootings in the Emanuel EME Church in South Carolina last Wednesday, may be very disturbed and he may very well suffer from mental illness. But he is the exception, not the rule. Most people with mental illness do NOT commit violence.
Just now, on Morning Joe, while the shooting and gun violence were discussed, the terms "mental illness" and "schizophrenia" were thrown about willy nilly. If you are not a health care provider who specializes in mental illness, or a counselor who treats people with mental illness, or a patient with mental illness, or live in a home with a family member of someone with a serious mental illness, then you should not make sweeping generalizations and give uninformed opinions about mental illness. Especially if you are in the media, or any public forum where you influence public thinking. True, mental illness has probably touched your life in some way, just as it is likely that alcoholism has affected your life in some way. But having a bit of experience does not make you an expert.
"The attribution of violent crime to people diagnosed with mental illness is increasing stigmatization of the mentally ill while virtually no effort is being made to address the much broader cultural problem of anger management. This broader problem encompasses not just mass murders but violence toward children and spouses, rape, road rage, assault, and violent robberies. We are a culture awash in anger."
--Slate "How To Stop Violence, Mentally Ill People Aren’t Killers. Angry People Are."
Please, PLEASE think carefully about the mentally ill and those who are angry and violent. We are not violent. Anymore than you are violent. The vast majority of us, of all people, are not violent. Most people are never violent.
Please be mindful.