In My Backyard
In My Backyard
Season 2 Episode #21 - Exploring a Link Between Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

This episode explores whether there is a link between mental illness and mass killings, a tragic phenomenon that is relatively unique to the United States.

The National Council for Behavioral Health wrote in 2019, “after (mass shootings), political leaders often invoke mental illness as the reason for mass violence, a narrative that resonates with the widespread public belief that mentally ill individuals in general pose a danger to others. Since it is difficult to imagine that a mentally healthy person would deliberately kill multiple strangers, it is commonly assumed that all perpetrators of mass violence must be mentally ill”. Although, this issue seems sometimes to be a uniquely American problem that can’t be attributed to mental illness alone. But is there still a correlation?

Today, Patricia speaks with Dr. Jack Rozel, a doctor of emergency and forensic psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, with an expertise in threat management and violence prevention. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Rozel has served as an incident commander for mass shootings and been involved in the behavioral health response to several mass casualty events. He contributed to major policy and practice efforts including the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2019 report on mass violence, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s violence management guidelines and Pennsylvania Governor’s Special Council on Gun Violence report.

For a comprehensive understanding of the causes, impacts, and solutions surrounding mass violence in America, check out this report from the National Convention of Mental Wellbeing.

In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.

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