Psychiatrist discusses gun control and mental illness

Psychiatrist discusses gun control and mental illness

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The gun control debate continues in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas.

Celebrities are using their platforms to lobby for stricter gun laws.

Even Jimmy Kimmel became emotional about the issue. During his monologue on Monday's Jimmy Kimmel Live! he said,  "Of course we can do something about it, there are a lot of things we can do about it, but we don't. " He went on to say "common sense says you don't let people who suffer from mental illness, buy guns."

That statement, got the attention of UTMC Psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Kelly.

"I think it's a great mis-service to everyone in the United States when we use blanket statements that cover an entire population and it's very misleading,"she said.

Dr. Kelly said one in four or five people have mental illness and a ban on guns would be discriminatory against that population.

She said the American Psychiatric Association is in support of common sense gun control, but less than five percent of mass murders are committed by people with severe mental illness.

"One of the big fallacies is that individuals who have a mental illness are prone to violence. That is absolutely not true. If anything, the studies show individuals with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence," Dr. Kelly said.

She adds that limiting access to guns for people with mental illness could actually keep them from getting the treatment they need.

"It's very stigmatizing a and somebody who maybe needs a firearm for their protection at home, would be deterred from getting treatment so it could do a disservice and potentially make the situation worse."

Dr. Kelly believes a good approach would be for Congress to provide more funding to study gun violence to pinpoint who's most vulnerable.

She noted, studies have shown in areas where there are limited access to gun, suicide rates were lower.

She said overall there needs to be more education about preventing suicide, which is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.

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