We're pretty good at ignoring these problems, but by putting them together, maybe we'll pay attention.
So just to recap:
- There is a mass killing in America every two weeks. That means that once every 14 days, someone kills four or more people.
- Two-thirds of all mass killings involve guns.
- At the same time, we've cut $1.6 billion from state mental health services nationwide over the last five years.
- Only 20% of children ages 8-15 living with a mental illness receive treatment.
If we want to get serious about reining in gun violence in the U.S. — especially considering how difficult it is to get even the most limited gun regulations passed here — we have to get serious about improving our mental health care system. We've got to fund it and destigmatize it so people don't feel shame about seeking treatment.
This is not to imply that most people living with a mental illness are violent. Far from it. But because "severe mental health disorders that go untreated can increase the risk for violence," making it easier, more affordable, and less shameful to seek treatment is really the least we can do for people who are suffering.