There is something that is sometimes very difficult to talk about in the mental health advocacy community -- that is the people who commit crimes who have a mental illness.
There are a lot of reasons for this, below is only my top four (let me know yours) :
People with so-called "mental illness" are twice as likely as anyone else to be the victim of a crime.
There are literally 10s of millions of people in the US with some type of "mental illness," and even with the U.S.'s high incarceration rates, it's pretty obvious that the vast, vast, vast majority are not committing crimes.
STIGMA -- when people talk about the stigma of mental illness, often what is referred to is the fear that others perceive you as a possible mass murderer. Distancing oneself from that perception would have a lot of advantages, along with a lot of truth for most people.
People with "mental illness" hold similar views to the general public, wondering if the criminal bad behavior of others cannot be attributed to schizophrenia, bipolar, or PTSD -- isn't the person just "evil"?
From my perspective many people in prison and jail do have a "mental illness," including ADHD or various "developmental disabilities" along with assorted brain injuries [Parenthetically, I do realize that "mental illness" is not the same as the state's definition of insanity].
And since I believe that, the current system of incarceration and punishment seems immoral to me.
I'm also, for a mental health advocate, fairly paternalistic and as far as I am concerned -- Safety First.
I know that some of the most kind, compassionate, and pragmatic people are in the mental health professional and advocacy communities.
We're working with others to build a Coalition to address some of these issues that involve the incarceration of people with mental illness. Further, this problem falls particularly heavy on people of color and the poor.
If you would like to participate, please contact Orchid-- email@example.com .
Nina Simone's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"