Mental Health And Violence : 13 Facts

1. Approximately 95% of homicides committed each year in Britain are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. (1)

2. The vast majority of people who use mental health services are not violent. (1)

3. Between 1974 and 1994 the rate of homicide in Britain doubled yet there was no increase in homicides in the same period by people with mental health problems. (1)

4. In terms of homicide, the general public is far more at risk from young men under the influence of alcohol than from people with a mental health problem. (1)

5. The random killing of a stranger by a psychotic individual is a rare occurrence. (2)

6. A person without a mental health problem is 400% more likely to commit an act of homicide than a person with a mental health problem. (2)

7. 15% of people with a depressive illness commit suicide. (2)

8. 10% of schizophrenics commit suicide. (2)

9. A person with schizophrenia is 100 times more likely to commit suicide than to commit an act of homicide. (2)

10. Homicides and suicides by people who are receiving specialist psychiatric treatment for mental illness constitute only a small proportion of the total number of deaths arising as a result of murder and suicide in British society. (2)

11. One is thirteen times more likely to be killed by a stranger without mental health problems than by a stranger with mental health problems. (3)

12. Of the 206 deaths of detained mental health patients in a two-year period, l5 were the consequence of health care intervention. (4)

13. Statistics show that whilst recorded violent crime amongst the general public increased four-fold between 1967 and 1997, there was no increase in violence by people with mental health problems (5).

(1) Audit commission, Finding A Place : A Review of Mental Health Services For Adults, HMSO, 1994.
(2) Report of the Confidential Inquiry Into Homicides And Suicides By Mentally Ill People, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1996.
(3) Progress Report Of The Confidential Inquiry Into Homicides And Suicides By Mentally Ill People, Department Of Health, 1997.
(4) Deaths Of Detained Patients: A Review Of Reports To The Mental Health Act Commission, Mental Health Foundation,1995.
(5) Challenge The Media To Get The Facts Right, Mediawatch,1998.

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