How Mental Health And Criminal Behavior Are Related

While criminal behavior and mental illness often go hand-in-hand, it’s not always easy to separate the person from their behavior. Because of the stigma attached to mental health problems, people who have mental illness are often victims of violent crime rather than the perpetrators. Nevertheless, it is true that many people who commit crimes do suffer from mental illness, and that mental illness can affect their behavior.

mental illness

It’s Not All in Their Head

inmates walking with officer

According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1.2 million people with mental illness are currently in jail in the US. People on probation can also suffer from mental illness at two to four times the rate of the general population.

“It is important to reduce the negative feelings associated with mental illness.”

With so many crimes committed by the mentally ill, it’s easy to make a connection between behavior and mental health. But several studies have failed to find any links between suffering from problems with mental health and committing crimes. A person is much more likely to break the law because of other things, like poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and substance abuse.

Treatment and Solutions

It is clear that mental health programs and treatments need to go beyond just the basics. Providing therapy to help improve behavior and manage anger can help reduce repeat criminal offenders and avoid future jail time. It is also important to reduce the negative feelings associated with mental illness, so that inmates and suspects can feel safe asking for help once they are in custody.

Removing Stigmas and Assumptions

All individuals should have to face the consequences for their actions. Unfortunately, if left untreated, mental illness can make it harder to make good decisions. Mental illness leaves sufferers feeling isolated, rejected, and depressed. It can even lead them to commit a crime in order to try and have some control over their lives.

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