Does mental health play a role in mass shootings? (includes video story)

There have been 233 mass shootings in the past six months, according to the Gun Violence Archive stated. Though there has been much talk about gun laws, some elected officials have blamed mental illness. But experts say there’s no correlation between mental health and violence. 

“When we are conflating mental health and mass shootings, what we are implying is that people who struggle with any type of mental health issues are probably violent, and that’s not correct at all,” said M. Natalia Acosta, a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology at the University of Nebraska. “Actually people who struggle with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violence. So if we are conflating two completely different topics, that’s not only incorrect but actually harmful.” 

However, other politicians say that this is a matter of teenagers changing from hurting themselves to killing people. 

As Tim Kelly, mayor of Chattanooga Tennessee, stated: “Here’s the bottom line, teenagers acting out, pushing the boundaries and getting into trouble is not new,” he said. “Kids have always gotten into scuffles with each other. That’s a tale as old as time. What is new is that they now have access to handguns and firearms that leave behind bodies instead of bruises and bruised egos.”

Some other Senators and Representatives have different opinions on the matter and say there are lots of people with mental illness in the world. Yet America is the only country dealing with this issue. People expect the government to do something. This is why although the Senate is not in session this week, they will meet remotely to try and reach a consensus on how to move forward.

Nicole Castañeda is a psychologist and designer double major at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and has a master degree in Clinical Psychology and Logo-therapy. She is currently doing her masters in Spanish Journalism at Florida International University. She is passionate about fashion and journalism and her goal is to be able to work as a reporter in a Latin American channel.