* The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. In fact, 95 per cent of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health problem.[10]

* Contrary to popular belief, the incidence of homicide committed by people diagnosed with mental health problems has stayed at a fairly constant level since the 1990s. [11]

* The fear of random unprovoked attacks on strangers by people with mental health problems is unjustified. This has been highlighted by a US finding that patients with psychosis who are living in the community are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for such a crime. [12]

* According to the British Crime Survey, almost half (47 per cent) of the victims of violent crimes believed that their offender was under the influence of alcohol and about 17 per cent believed that the offender was under the influence of drugs. [13] Another survey suggested that about 30 per cent of victims believed that the offender attacked them because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In contrast, only one per cent of victims believed that the violent incident happened because the offender had a mental illness. [14]

* People with mental health problems are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others: 90 per cent of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress. [15]

* People with serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator. One study found that more than one in four people with a severe mental illness had been a victim of crime in one year. [16]

[10] Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry, 2006, Risk of violence to other people,

[11] National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness – Annual report: England and Wales 2009

[12] Walsh E et al. 2003, 'Prevalence of violent victimisation in severe mental illness', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 183, pp. 233–238.

[13] Home Office, 2009, Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Vol. 1, Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime, Statistical Bulletin, 11/09, vol. 1.

[14] Coleman K, Hird C, Povey D. 2006, 'Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/2005', Home Office Statistical Bulletin,

[15] Hall D et al. 1998, 'Thirteen-year follow-up of deliberate self-harm, using linked data', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 172: pp. 239–242.

[16] Teplin L, McClelland M, Abram K, Weiner D, 2005, 'Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness', Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 62, pp. 911–921.

Tagged under: mental violence


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