Mass Shootings and Mental Illness | WYPR

Mass Shootings and Mental Illness

Jun 14, 2016

Credit George Ian Bowles/Flickr via Creative Commons

The death of forty-nine people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida marks the deadliest mass shooting in United States’ history. As new details emerge about the gunman, we discuss one factor that’s played a role in other shootings: mental illness. Is there a link between mental illness and mass shootings? Can a diagnosis of mental illness predict future violence? While politicians call for increased access to mental health treatment and laws to prevent those with mental illness from accessing firearms, researchers say that these conversations distract from a more effective remedy to mass shootings: gun law reform. 

Our guest: Dr. Jonathan Metzl, professor of psychiatry and sociology at Vanderbilt University. He is director of the school’s Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, as well as research director for the Safe Tennessee Project, an organization that views gun violence as a public-health issue.