David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

[Mentally ill more likely victim than perp][1]

Researchers at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine say more than one-fourth of individuals with severe mental illness were victims of violent crime during 2004 — a rate nearly 12 times that of the general population. Depending on the type of violent crime, prevalence was six to 23 times greater among people with severe mental illness than among the general population, said lead author Linda Teplin, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg.

In addition, Teplin said the annual incidence of violent crime in people with severe mental illness who live in the community is more than four times higher than that in the general population. Here is two rather disturbing bits of information. Persons with mental illness are as vulnerable to predators as we thought they might be. Secondly, we have statistics that say persons with mental illness are four times more likely to commit crimes than the average population. I remember hearing years ago that persons with mental illness were no more likely to commit a crime than the average person. What has changed? Research methods? Or is diagnosis spreading appropriately into the Correctional system? I suspect it’s the latter. Not only have I seen a higher proportion of chemical abuse but criminal records among my more recent clients. It is part and parcel to working in an urban center. I’m also convinced, the same sorts of treatment can be just as helpful, at least for those who have a functioning conscience. But we must be aware as both providers and consumers, there are people who do not have a adequate conscience that we can not trust in our treatment settings.

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