“The focus of the news coverage surrounding the Germanwings Flight 9525 tragedy has gravitated toward co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s mental health. Reports of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, psychosomatic complaints and psychiatric medications have emerged. Reaching for psychiatric diagnosis as an explanation for mass violence is familiar territory (Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Seung-Hui Cho). We crave explanation for unimaginable acts. Mental illness is something we can wrap our heads around.
I spent years in New York City working with men facing the death penalty, as a special investigator who pieced together the stories of why people commit heinous murders. I spent hundreds of hours face to face with New York’s worst criminals, digging through their tragic histories. Every person I worked with had a list of mental health diagnoses. Did their mental illnesses cause them to commit murder? I didn’t know.”
The Violence Project’s Dr. Jillian Peterson writes about her research into how mental illness and violence relate, and what we can do to prevent future violence.
Read the rest here.
Source: Star Tribune
Author: Jillian Peterson