Mind responds to latest National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness
Posted Wednesday 7 July 2010
Today the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness has reported a decrease in the numbers of homicides committed by people with mental health problems (1). In response to the Inquiry, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
Any homicide is a tragic event, but what these figures show is that contrary to popular stereotypes, the numbers of homicides committed by people with mental health problems have actually fallen.
There remains in our society a wide gap between the public perception of the risks posed by people with mental health problems and the reality. Homicides by people with mental distress have long been a small part of the total, and in fact individuals with mental health problems are far more likely to be the victims of a crime than the perpetrators (2).
We are making some progress in improving people’s attitudes, and programmes such as Time to Change are having a demonstrable impact on public understanding of mental health. This year’s Public Attitudes Survey shows that people who are aware of the campaign are 19% more likely to agree that “people with mental illness are far less dangerous than people suppose” than those unaware of the campaign (3).
However there is still a long way to go and stigma and discrimination continue to affect the lives of so many people with direct experience of mental distress, in some worrying cases stopping them from seeking the help that they need for fear of being labelled. It is vital that we continue to work towards a situation where individuals can feel confident about accessing mental health services without worrying about stigma and discrimination. We hope that this will in turn contribute towards further reducing the already small risk of homicide, and help people contemplating suicide to seek support.
(1) The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness can be viewed at http://www.medicine.manchester.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/suicide/prevention/nci/
(2) Another Assault, Mind, 2007 http://www.mind.org.uk/campaigns_and_issues/current_campaigns/another_assault
(3) Time To Change/ Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, 2010