Mental health and violence are often seen as two related terms.
A lot of violent acts that are committed that we hear about are related to mental health in some way.
In this post, I will explain why the key phrase there is acts that we hear about. In reality, most violent acts are not attributable to mental health, only about 4%.
Why Are Poor Mental Health and Violence Related?
A lot of the time when someone is struggling with their mental health it is easy to assume that they are more aggressive. This is true but not in the way that you might imagine. People with poor mental health, people who are struggling with their mental health, and people who are diagnosed with mental health issues are much more likely to commit violence against themselves. Having a mental health issue rarely increases the tendency for violence on its own. If you couple this with, for example, alcohol and drug issues, then you are talking about an added risk. Mental health issues and violent tendencies tend to be related because it is generally assumed that people struggling with mental health are less stable. However, that is not causation for violence.
How To Break That Stigma
Thinking that people with mental issues need support, and associating them with more violence will lead to even less support and more negative feelings. Mental health and violence are related in a way that does not help anyone. Breaking that stigma and showing that people with mental health issues are crying for help more than anything is crucial. To break that stigma, it is important to simply listen if someone is trying to tell you what might be going on. Just listen. When I say listen, I do not mean just looking at them while they talk. While eye contact matters, that is not enough. To listen to someone you must forget about your own opinions. Just hear their words and don’t think about how you will respond.
Fight Violence With Love
When I say love I am using that term in a very general way. Everyone struggles with their mental health. Whether it is your family member, spouse, friend, or total stranger. In any of those situations, it is important that those people are treated with respect and listened to by someone. Sometimes just really listening to someone is so therapeutic for them. Sometimes someone might ask for your input and you have no idea what to say. If that were to happen then the important thing to do would be to tell them that while we do not always have an answer, that does not mean there isn’t one. And that no matter what, there is no need for violence of any kind because it is never worth it.
The Bottom Line
Honestly, the bottom line here is to just look out for people. Life is hard, and helping someone by just listening or by just being a positive presence for them can make a huge difference, even if it does not make much of a difference for you. Mental health and violence are connected negatively, changing that will take a collective effort and positive progress made toward that goal will sharpen the minds of many.