Mental Illness and Mass Murder

Based on the increase in the U.S. population, there are now some one million people with serious mental illness living among the general population who, 60 years ago, would have been treated in state mental hospitals. Multiple studies have reported that, at any given time, between 40% and 50% of them are receiving no treatment for their mental illness. With the best of intentions and the worst of planning, America has emptied out its public psychiatric hospitals without ensuring that the released patients would receive the necessary treatment to control their symptoms. What did we think would happen?

Now we have two more mass shootings, committed over a 13-hour period. In El Paso, Texas, 20 people were killed in what authorities have called a hate crime, while in Dayton, Ohio, the death toll is nine. One database claims these were the 21st and 22nd mass killings in the U.S. in 2019. Such databases vary depending on the number of dead required to meet the definition.

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed via Treatment Advocacy Center