The following letter to the Editor was written by the Director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse Susan Rogers regarding the New York Times article ‘When Right to Bear Arms Includes the Mentally Ill‘:
To the Editor:
As someone who has a mental illness, I was dismayed to read your article about guns and violence. It misses the point, which is that the United States needs much stronger gun control laws for everyone . . .
Although the prevalence of mental health conditions is about the same around the world, the “U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population,” according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. That is because of the ease of acquiring firearms here.
Although your article does correctly state that the “vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent,” this kind of coverage can only add to the discrimination and prejudice associated with mental health conditions and drive people away from seeking treatment.
Philadelphia, Dec. 23, 2013