With the rising prevalence of U.S. mass shootings and mental health issues many have begun to wonder if the two are connected. With a rural homicide rate of around 17 per 100 people and an urban homicide rate of around 19 per 100, Louisiana has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. According to a leading nonprofit study of government surveys, more than 20% of the U.S. population suffers from a mental illness. Over 5% of the U.S. suffers from severe mental illness.
Mental illness in Louisiana
For the most part, Louisiana is in line with the national average on most mental illness metrics. However, the study found that Louisiana was close to qualifying as one of the states with a higher prevalence for mental health and less access to care. For the youth, Louisiana ranks as one of the top ten states for mental health issues and low access to care. More than 700,000 people in Louisiana have a mental health disorder.
Homicide and mental illness
Studies show that close to 40% of the adults in prison and jail have a history of mental illness. Close to 70% of the individuals in the juvenile justice systems suffer from a mental health condition. Around 25% of the people with serious mental illness have been arrested at least once in their lifetime, accounting for over 2 million bookings each year. Researchers claim that mental illness may account for 10% of all murder in the U.S.
Some studies have found a correlation between states with higher homicide rates and states where it’s more difficult to receive mental health treatment. Several studies have found that 6% to 13% of the respondents who’d allegedly attempted or committed murder also had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Most psychiatric researchers have found the purported link between mental illness and murder to be overblown at times, if not altogether discriminatory.