This editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer.
Here's a point missed in the anxiety over a frightening spurt of mass gun violence: Statistics show the majority of people who are mentally ill do not commit violence, and that the majority of people who commit violent crimes are not mentally ill.
Yet mental illness comes with a stigma in our culture that is costly, unhealthy and wrong. The perception of its victims as wackos or weak-spirited needs to change.
One in four adults will experience a serious mental disturbance in his or her lifetime. That's how pervasive mental illness is in the United States and in North Carolina, according to the National Mental Health Association.
Yet don't expect to see ready evidence of that statistic. Mass shootings by gunmen in North Carolina, Alabama and Binghamton, N.Y. show easy access to high–powered weapons and emotional instability can be a deadly mix. Yet those tragedies have also blurred understanding of an already misunderstood disease.
Think about it: One in four people suffer a disease such as depression or bipolar disorder. Chances are, that means a valued friend, neighbor or co–worker are among them.
Yet most people don't understand mental illness. Many are afraid of it. Many others just blame the person who is sick.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Charlotte Observer.