Mental health and violence


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MASON CITY, Iowa – After the navy yard shooting in Washington last week, media outlets have been discussing how the shooter’s mental health plays a role in the incident.

Mental health Counselor, Cody Williams, said that even though the attention mental illness is getting in the media because of this incident, it’s at least sparking conversations.

“It’s a mixed bag,” Williams said. “It’s not a positive piece because not everybody that has mental health issues is going to go out and commit these types of crimes or go out and commit crimes period.”

Highlighting this point that not all people with mental illnesses plan to act out in a violent way is one way that William’s believes the media could help eliminate the negative stigma behind mental health issues.

Law enforcement in our area has been focusing on other aspects of this case.

They have been talking about the importance of the National Instant Criminal Background System Check (NICS), which ensures that a person looking to get a permit has a clean background.

Based on a person’s criminal history or a diagnosis of having or being suspected of having a mental illness, a person can either be approved or denied a permit.

Williams works with people struggling with mental health issues and believes that even though this particular incident makes it difficult to do so, mental illnesses should not be automatically seen as a negative thing.

“We still look at any type of mental health issue as something we don’t want to talk about,” Williams said, “as something that’s kind of negative to us because we’re weak in some way, and it has nothing to do with that.

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