Targeting mental health laws


Yes, Stefanie Doucette, we should Òextend our judgment and our political opinions beyond just our own immediate experiences.Ó You state your opinion that our society has experienced increasing Òlevels of violence, tension and general mental instability in our societyÓ since the advent of Òtechnology for this so-called protection.Ó So let me help you expand your opinion.

Regarding so-called increases in levels of violence, letÕs take a look at the facts. In 2011, Matt Macbradaigh, a writer for, analyzed the FBIÕs Crime In The United States report and found that Òthe violent crime rate is now 50.9 percent of what it was 20 years ago [and] the homicide rate has declined by 48.7 percent in that same time periodÓ. LetÕs look at another report regarding firearm violence. The Bureau of Justice Statistics report on Firearm Violence from 1993-2011 found that Òfirearm-related homicides declined 39 percentÓ and Ònonfatal firearm crimes declined 69 percentÓ for this timeframe.

Regarding the increase in mental instability, I will provide the statistics that you managed to not cite again. Dr. Bruce LevineÕs 2013 report titled ÒWhy the Rise of Mental Illness? Pathologizing Normal, Adverse Drug Effects, and a Peculiar Rebellion,Ó found that Òthe suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 years increased 28.4 percent between 1999 and 2010 (from 13.7 suicides per 100,000 population in 1999 to 17.6 per 100,000 in 2010)Ó and Òa total of 13 to 20 percent of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994Ð2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.Ó

So we have large decreases in violence but increases in mental illness and suicide. You miss the deeper issues of our society by pushing Congress to act regarding the former, but not the latter. Clearly we have a mental health epidemic in our society that affects all ages.

We as a society need to focus on de-stigmatizing mental illness, providing outreach to members of our different communities and providing the resources for those that seek help.



Christian Matthews

Class of 2014