Guest Post: The Violence of People with Mental Illness

I was handcuffed a couple of years ago. Policemen threw me to the ground violently and handcuffed me as if I were a criminal. But I was not committing a crime; I was experiencing a manic episode of Bipolar I Disorder – I was mentally ill.

This photo, “The Granite Cross,” is copyright (c) 2014 Tobias Lindman and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

This photo, “handcuffs,” is copyright (c) 2014 Keith Allison and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding mental health. Much of society believes that people with mental illness have violent tendencies, but the reality is that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than they are to be violent themselves, as is evident in the situation described above. The percentage of violence among the mentally ill is very small, and most violent people do not actually suffer from mental illness. Continue reading