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Debunking The Myth Of A Link Between Mass Shootings And Mental Illness

Steve Rhodes | Flickr

After the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead last year, President Donald Trump linked the prevalence of gun violence to mental illness. That sentiment came up again after recent shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. 

Dr. Jessica Gold, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, says there is no factual link between mental illness and violence against others. In fact, she argues that “people with mental health disorders are more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the perpetrators.”

“If you look at all violence against people, not just shootings, only 3% to 5% of that is committed by someone with a mental illness,” she said Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air

During the show, she talked with Sarah Fenske about why there is a perceived link between mental illness and violence, and the danger that belief poses to society.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.