Falling through the cracks: the decline of mental health care and firearm violence

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Falling through the cracks: the decline of mental health care and firearm violence

Category: Behavior, Homicide, Suicide|Journal: Journal of Mental Health (full text)|Author: J Meszaros|Year: 2017

Background

This paper argues that the decline in the availability of long-term, intensive mental health services, particularly through state mental health hospital systems, has had negative impacts on firearm-related deaths and possibly on the incidence of mass shooting events.

 

Aims

Establish the effect of reduced availability of long-term, intensive mental health treatment on firearm-related violence in the United States.

 

Method

Ordinary least squares regressions on cross-sectional data of US states.

 

Results

Mass shooting perpetrators had significantly higher rates of mental illness than the general population. In addition, using simple regressions, this paper’s results demonstrate that increasing the number of state psychiatric hospital beds is associated with lower rates of homicide.

 

Conclusions

The shrinking number of intensive, long-term mental health facilities in US states has had many negative consequences, including higher rates of firearm homicide.

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