Myth vs. Fact: Violence and Mental Health

Over the past twelve months, Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, has given a number of talks and has been featured multiple times in the media because of his campaign to educate lawmakers and the public about the relationship between mental illness and violence, specifically in the area of gun control.  “We must keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while safe guarding the [constitutional] rights of other people.”  Dr. Swanson said at a public forum at the University of Virginia.

In June 2014, ProPublica interviewed Dr. Swanson to clarify a few misconceptions about mental health and violence.  The Q & A addressed misconceptions such as laws on prohibiting people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution from owning a fun and the impact laws are having.  Read More 

In May 2014, Dr. Swanson was asked to comment on a new law in Orange County, California, called “Laura’s Law.”  The Law allows for court-ordered outpatient treatment for those with a history of serious mental illness and violence. Dr. Swanson described on KCRW radio that this type of law is not new to the United States; New York has a similar law, “Kendra’s Law.”  The New York law has been successful in increasing the number of people with a serious mental illness who receive treatment and ultimately decreases the number of times those treated are hospitalized.  Kendra’s Law is helping to alleviate some of the treatment barriers for a number of people suffering from severe mental illness.  Laura’s Law, while only in the early stages of enforcement, is an attempt to follow suite and improve mental healthcare for those with serious mental illness and make the Orange County safer.