Research Director, Tennessee, Florida discussed on The Takeaway


Health and society and research director of the safe tennessee project jonathan welcome to the takeaway thank you so much for having me so we have a ton of things to unpack here and i am particularly interested in this narrative around mental health i think this is one of the times that we are one of the many times we hear about this but this shooting seems to have brought this to the forefront is mental health has mental illness or mental health if you will become a scapegoat to larger issues facing this country when it comes to firearms well it's it's a great way to start this conversation and first let me say just empathic li as somebody who studies this issue and also trained in and mental health that it's understandable to me why as a society we turn to questions of mental illness and mental health in the aftermath of the shootings these shootings are unbelievably traumatising we try to divide a line between our own civilized society and somebody who would act with it with such disregard for human life and of course there are significant psychological histories for many of these highprofile mesh shooters and so in that regard that turn is understandable as a national way of processing the trauma that we've experienced but at the same time people like myself who study this find it highly highly irresponsible and really almost an abdication of leadership to just focus on mental illness from the top down for i think three main reasons one is that as we see in the florida shooting there are so many factors that might lead somebody who has a a troubled history two to commit an act like this a second is that i can say as a psychiatrist unfortunately there is no psychiatric diagnosis whose symptom is shooting somebody else are harming somebody else and i would challenge the leaders who are saying this is a mental health issue to tell us what is the diagnosis here in a way it's a concert of many factors but it's not like somebody with depression schizophrenia has one of their symptoms to go shoot somebody and so in that regard it's not like there's a predictive value of psychiatric diagnosis and i think that's really a key issue that it's a.

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