This important, multidisciplinary volume presents evidence-based analyses and risk assessment strategies for mental health clinicians, trainees, and those interested in finding more effective interventions to decrease the costs of the serious public health problems of gun violence and mental illness.
Perhaps never before has an objective, evidence-based review of the intersection between gun violence and mental illness been more sorely needed or more timely. Gun Violence and Mental Illness, written by a multidisciplinary roster of authors who are leaders in the fields of mental health, public health, and public policy, is a practical guide to the issues surrounding the relation between firearms deaths and mental illness. Tragic mass shootings that capture headlines reinforce the mistaken beliefs that people with mental illness are violent and responsible for much of the gun violence in the United States. This misconception stigmatizes individuals with mental illness and distracts us from the awareness that approximately 65% of all firearm deaths each year are suicides. This book is an apolitical exploration of the misperceptions and realities that attend gun violence and mental illness. The authors frame both pressing social issues as public health problems subject to a variety of interventions on individual and collective levels, including utilization of a novel perspective: evidence-based interventions focusing on assessments and indicators of dangerousness, with or without indications of mental illness.
Reader-friendly, well-structured, and accessible to professional and lay audiences, the book: Reviews the epidemiology of gun violence and its relationship to mental illness, exploring what we know about those who perpetrate mass shootings and school shootings. Examines the current legal provisions for prohibiting access to firearms for those with mental illness and whether these provisions and new mandated reporting interventions are effective or whether they reinforce negative stereotypes associated with mental illness. Discusses the issues raised in accessing mental health treatment in regard to diminished treatment resources, barriers to access, and involuntary commitment. Explores novel interventions for addressing these issues from a multilevel and multidisciplinary public health perspective that does not stigmatize people with mental illness. This includes reviews of suicide risk assessment; increasing treatment engagement; legal, social, and psychiatric means of restricting access to firearms when people are in crisis; and, when appropriate, restoration of firearm rights.
Mental health clinicians and trainees will especially appreciate the risk assessment strategies presented here, and mental health, public health, and public policy researchers will find Gun Violence and Mental Illness a thoughtful and thought-provoking volume that eschews sensationalism and embraces serious scholarship.
ContributorsForewordIntroductionAcknowledgmentsPart I: Defining the ProblemsChapter 1. Gun Violence and Serious Mental IllnessChapter 2. Firearms and Suicide in the United StatesChapter 3. Gun Violence, Urban Youth, and Mental IllnessChapter 4. Mass Shootings and Mental IllnessChapter 5: School Shootings and Mental IllnessChapter 6: Mental Illness and the National Instant Criminal Background Check SystemChapter 7. Mental Illness, Dangerousness, and Involuntary CommitmentChapter 8. Accessing Mental Health CarePart II: Moving ForwardChapter 9. Structured Violence Risk Assessment: Implications for Preventing Gun ViolenceChapter 10: Decreasing Suicide Mortality: Clinical Risk Assessment and Firearm ManagementChapter 11: Treatment Engagement, Access to Services, and Civil Commitment Reform: Would These Strategies Help Reduce Firearm-Related Risks?Chapter 12: Preventing Gun Violence: Decreasing Access to Firearms During Times of CrisisChapter 13: Relief from Disabilities: Firearm Rights Restoration for Persons Under Mental Health ProhibitionsChapter 14: Decreasing Gun Violence: Social and Public Health InterventionsAppendixResources