Mass shootings: an issue of mental health?

In the aftermath of the Texas massacre this week, President Trump stated incidents such as this are an issue with mental health, not gun violence.

Posted: Nov 9, 2017 8:24 AM
Updated: Nov 9, 2017 8:51 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- In the aftermath of the Texas massacre this week, President Trump stated incidents such as this are an issue with mental health, not gun violence.

In a social media poll, viewers were torn, and many community members agreed with Trump.

"I don't know how anyone in their right mind would go out with a gun and shoot people, and hurt other people," said Diana Weber, a Fort Wayne resident.

A study by Psychology Today showed women are 40 percent more likely than men to have a mental illness, but men are responsible for 89 percent of violent acts.

"There's really no example of a mass shooter that was a woman. There's virtually no women that were serial killers. There's just a couple that have been mentioned in history," said Dr. Matthew Stanford, a psychologist in Houston, Texas.

Stanford said while mental health did play a huge role in the background of the Texas and Sandy Hook shooters, that's not the case with every mass shooting.

"Part of the problem here is how we raise youth, how we teach men and women to express themselves, how we actually have stopped teaching people how to be resilient when they have problems with stress, how to deal with stress," Stanford said.

He said the conversation on how to deal with stress should start at an early age. One mother I spoke with said she already talks to her toddler.

"I tell him all the time, 'I don't know what you want. I don't know what you need. You have to tell me. You can't just scream at me, and expect mom to know what you need,'" said Natasha, who did not want to be on camera.

Stanford said if there's one thing that comes out of Trump's statement, it should be a conversation.

"Out of that dialogue, we'll come to realization that it's more of a complex problem than this. [That] guns just make it more lethal, they don't necessarily generate the problem. [Just like] mental health may play a role, but it's not the genesis of the problem," Stanford said.

For more information on mental health resources, and ways to talk about it, visit the Speak Up website.

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