Mental Illness Strains School Counselors

National Coalition Of People With Psychiatric Histories Responds To Virginia Tech Tragedy

“Let’s turn this crisis into an opportunity to understand more about mental health and create a more healthy and peaceful community,” said Coalition member Can Truong. The Coalition endorses this approach and the importance of supporting one another, and promotes peer-run mental health education, awareness and advocacy organizations such as Active Minds on Campus (http://www.activemindsoncampus.org).

The Coalition also applauds Mental Health America for urging the public to avoid diagnosing others or engaging in “profiling” of groups such as those who appear to be foreign-born or people with psychiatric diagnoses.

“Reacting with judgment and labeling, fueled by the media, perpetuates misinformation and is a disservice to us all,” said Spiro. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in September 2002, “Violent crimes committed by psychiatric patients become big headlines and reinforce the social stigma and rejection felt by many individuals who suffer from mental illness. But our findings suggest that serious violence is the rare exception among all people with psychiatric disorders. The public perception that people who are mentally ill are typically violent is unfounded.”

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