I loathe politics. It's typically people with polarised views fighting online. Gun violence is a problem in America, but Trump and many of his supporters blame it on mental health issues. The comments below are a small selection from Trump supporters. Mental health is the scapegoat when it comes to crimes motivated by hate. It's a stereotype that all people with mental health conditions are high risk criminals and it reinforces stigma that all people suffering from mental health issues and taking medications are violent.
In amongst all the arguing (typically religious themed) and insults (often mental health themed), there were a lot of people blaming mass shootings on mental health and medications for mental health. Some people were even blaming the mass shootings on sexual orientations and gender identities.
One comment said, 'Guns are not the problem. Mental illness is the problem. Get the crazies off the streets.'
Another comment said: 'Get rid of drugs and mental "health" practitioners. Bet any amount of money the shooter was on drugs.' Another said, 'Please investigate the proliferation of psych drugs and their common denominator in all these mass shootings!'
What about other 'common denominators?' White males with white supremacist extremist ideologies? (and where do those idealogies come from?) Why does America have a much higher rate of gun violence than the rest of the world? Stop making mental health the scapegoat.
I have experienced this stigma first-hand. I suffer from mental illness and injury from bipolar disorder (which has episodes of mania and depression), anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When I was struggling, I did have idealisations of taking my own life. Never another person's life. Yet I was accused on more than one occasion of being dangerous enough to kill my own child. This was extremely hurtful and a terribly abusive thing to accuse a vulnerable person of. If it were not for medications and the help of a mental health team, I would not be here today, simple as that.
One thing I observed from talking to other people from around the world with similar mental health struggles is that mental health care in America is shockingly expensive - hundreds or thousands of dollars per month for prescriptions. Here in New Zealand, we pay five dollars per prescription item every three months and a psychiatrist visit is free. Therapy can be free in some cases.
So, yes Mr Trump and your supporters - address mental health services in America - it's crap. Addressing mental health does not mean treating innocent people like criminals and locking them away. Stop making mental health the scapegoat for mass shootings and other violent crimes.
Hate is the common denominator for these mass shootings. Hate is not a mental health issue. Hate breeds in extremist ideologies. Stop the hate. Stop ignorance. End the stigma.
Xanthe finds writing and painting to be therapeutic. She has lived with mental illness for over 25 years. She has been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder after originally being diagnosed with 'treatment resistant' depression with general anxiety.