HealthDay (3/22, Preidt) reports, “Media coverage of mass shootings by people with mental illnesses may heighten the stigma that already surrounds people struggling with mental disorders,” according to the results of “an online survey of nearly 1,800 American adults” appearing in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association. The survey “also found that public support for policies to reduce gun violence rises after news coverage of mass shootings. Specifically, people who read a news story describing a mass shooting were more likely than those who did not read such an article to support gun restrictions for people with serious mental illness, and for a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines,” the survey found.
Sharfstein: Gun Laws Could Have Major Impact On US Suicide Rate. Psychiatric News (3/22) reports that former American Psychiatric Association president Steven Sharfstein, MD, in a piece that appeared earlier this week in the Baltimore Sun, emphasized that “while laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental illness, which are being debated in Maryland, would have little effect on the homicide rate in the United States, they could have a major impact on the suicide rate.” Dr. Sharfstein “pointed out that 20,000 of the 30,000 annual gun-related deaths in this country are suicides.” According to Dr. Sharfstein, “to bring down the gun suicide rate, strong barriers to availability of guns are needed.”
— “News Coverage of Shootings May Boost Stigma of Mental Illness, “Robert Preidt, HealthDay, March 21, 2013.