The relationship between mental health and crime, as with that between the brain and crime, is one that is both complex and controversial. The media has, unfortunately, often represented this link in a negative way, leading to the perception that people committing certain types of offences are all mentally ill. This is, of course, far from the case. Yes, some individuals with mental health problems do commit serious crime, there is no doubt about that. But far more people who suffer with these conditions don’t, and pose no danger to other people at all. The misperceptions and misunderstandings that surround the links here do, I believe, really need to be tackled so as to reduce the stereotyping that is so often their result.
In my drive to provide people with information to make up their own minds, I have listed more articles and resources on this issue below. The same problems often occur in research that examines these links as I mentioned in an earlier post. Studies are often correlational in nature and therefore causality is almost impossible to infer. And yet these studies are often wrongly portrayed as ‘proving’ links when in fact they do no such thing.
So another complex issue here and one that, rightly, causes a huge amount of debate and comment. I hope the links here help improve your understanding of this issue and perhaps inform your own thinking on it.
Article and report links:
Misconceptions, crime and mental health disorders. Excellent article here http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/news/512-misconceptions-crime-and-mental-health-disorders.html
A Review of the relationship between mental disorders and offending behaviours. http://www.criminologyresearchcouncil.gov.au/reports/mullen.pdf
Dangerousness and mental health: the facts. Excellent resource from MIND here http://www.mind.org.uk/help/research_and_policy/dangerousness_and_mental_health_the_facts
The relationship between mental disorders & different types of crime. Useful research abstract from last year here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbm.819/abstract
Gender, Mental Illness and Crime. Useful and thorough US report here http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/224028.pdf
Severe Mental Illness Alone Does Not Predict Violent Crime. More input into the debate here http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/587839
Violence and mental illness: an overview. A useful article from 2003 here. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525086/
The link between mental health problems and violent behaviour. Excellent article from Nursing Times. http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice-clinical-research/the-link-between-mental-health-problems-and-violent-behaviour/204481.article
Schizophrenia does not influence risk of violent crime. Useful short article here http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/05/21/schizophrenia-does-not-influence-risk-of-violent-crime/6016.html