Fear not, everyone. Donald Trump is here to solve our country's issue with mass shootings -- and his solution lies in further stigmatizing the mentally ill.
The entertainer presidential candidate told CNN on Thursday that the problem with incidents like the killing of two Virginia journalists on Wednesday isn't the gun laws in the U.S., but a fundamental lack of mental illness control and resources.
Trump is correct in that we need more resources for mental health issues, but his message and reasoning for why we need it is totally misguided.
"This isn't a gun problem, this is a mental problem," Trump told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "It's not a question of laws, it's really the people."
Trump went on to say that laws should not make it more difficult for "sane people" to have access to guns and that those who knew the shooter from yesterday's incident most likely thought he should be institutionalized.
Here's an important PSA for Trump and anyone who listens to him: "Mentally ill" is not synonymous with "homicidal."
It perpetuates a dangerous stigma to conflate mental illness with physical violence. Research suggests that negative stereotypes is still a large problem when it comes to mental illness, and that stigma acts as a barrier to proper treatment -- treatment that helps the nearly one in four people who experience a mental health disorder live healthy and productive lives.
Additionally, a 2014 study found that people with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than the ones committing them. Yet, most people still don't see it this way. Our culture still fully believes that the mentally ill are a threat to society. And given comments like Trump's, it's not hard to see why.
Making comments like this shames and alienates the large community of people who suffer from these health issues every day. It also does a disservice to the family members affected by these shootings.
The sooner we realize that mental illness isn't the problem, the sooner we can eliminate a stigma that plagues millions of Americans -- and the sooner we'll find a real solution to these horrible tragedies.
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