From the Editor
After the mass shooting on Toronto’s Danforth, mental illness has been much in the news. The Canadian Psychiatric Association went so far as to warn against stigmatizing those with mental illness.
Despite stereotypes, studies show that people with mental disorders are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than perpetrators. That said, the literature is light on how much crime patients experience, and the diagnoses of these patients.
This week, we look at a new paper just published by JAMA Psychiatry. Drawing on databases from Denmark, the University of New South Wales’ Kimberlie Dean and her co-authors consider crime (including violent crime) in a cohort study involving more than two million people. What do they find? Those with mental illness are much more likely to be victims than the general population.
In an accompanying editorial, Duke University School of Medicine’s Jeffrey W. Swanson and Charles M. Beldendiscuss the paper, and contrast it with American data. Their piece begins memorably: “The media-driven notion that mentally ill people pose a danger to others appears to be encrusted like a barnacle on the concept of mental illness submerged in the public mind.” They also weigh in on difference in rates of violence between Denmark and the United States.