People always have the tendency to link mental illness with everyone who is violent. For instance, a majority of the population of this world think that if someone decides to use gun violence in a certain situation, they are automatically diagnosed or questioned about having a mental illness. But what does this say for people who actually are mentally ill and are not violent whatsoever? It gives them a sense of worry because they don’t know what other people are thinking of them when they finally break out of their shell about the illness. I can speak for these people because I have experienced this single story. A single story means that a population only has one side of a situation and they automatically assume that's the only side of it. They do not care about the entire picture--only half of it matters to them. It has to be the worst feeling to have someone think you’re a bunch of different things, when in reality, you are the exact opposite.
After the shooting in San Bernardino, California, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, said, “People with mental illness are getting guns and committing these mass shootings.” But does the politician know that, in fact, less than 5% of shootings are related to mental illness, according to a public health study conducted not too long ago? Many common mental health diagnoses—including anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder—have no correlation with violent behavior at all. So, why do we automatically think that mental illness and gun violence go together? Why do people with disorders get the blame put on them as a whole? In my years of experience with mental illness, I’ve learned that if people have absolutely no idea what you’re going through they simply cannot understand. The same thing is true for this situation.
I think it’s really crazy for people to have to be screened for mental illnesses when buying a gun since this is just proving a stigma even further. If less than 5% of gun related violence is brought back to mental illness, how does this prove anything when someone is buying a weapon? “We have a strong responsibility as researchers who study mental illness to try to debunk that myth,” says Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “I say as loudly and as strongly and as frequently as I can, that mental illness is not a very big part of the problem of gun violence in the United States.” I think there should be stricter laws on guns and what we can do to them, but we really have to look at how this might be affecting other people as well and how offensive it could be.
So, what are some other solutions to protect the right to bear arms, but also to protect the feelings of those with a mental illness? This is something the future government needs to figure out. Because although mental health might not be the first, or even 100th thing on their mind right now, it needs to be focused on. We have the right to bear arms, but people with mental illness also have the right to not feel like everyone thinks they are a danger to society. No one should ever feel that way about themselves.