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August 2005

Violence and the Mentally Ill: Victims, Not Perpetrators

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(8):825-826. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.8.825

Stigma against mental illness turns the world on its head. Blaming the victim rationalizes neglect and maltreatment. In the public mind, violence is associated with mental illness. Yes, there is a strong association, but the direction of causality is the reverse of common belief: persons who are seriously mentally ill are far more likely to be the victims of violence than its initiators. The evidence produced by Linda Teplin et al1 (this issue) settles the matter beyond question.

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