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Expert: Mentally Ill No More Violent Than Anyone Else

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SPRINGFIELD (CBS) — Determining who’s mentally ill is an undertaking.

Mental health care and treatment are being discussed as ways to prevent gun violence, but Lorrie Jones, head of the Illinois Division of Mental Health, says just because someone has a mental problem doesn’t mean he’s a homicidal maniac.

“Persons with mental illnesses typically are no more violent than anybody else in our society, except when they are in need of treatment and don’t have access to that treatment, so the risk for violence does increase if they are in need of care and aren’t getting access to that care,” Jones said.

When it comes to restricting access to guns, some of the people who turned out to be crazy enough to commit mass murder weren’t clinically mentally ill.

Jones says it is a good idea to identify people with mental problems and get treatment for them, before they resort to violence in their struggle with delusion and paranoia, but she says many people with problems don’t seek treatment and end up undiagnosed.

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