Does mental illness cause people to commit crime?

1 in 4 people suffer mental illness in their lifetime

Are crazy people responsible for tons of crimes?

Taken from:

"Mentally ill patients are six times more likely to be murdered than the general population, researchers have found. The mentally ill also have higher death rates from suicide and accidental causes." There are so many people that commit suicide each year. According to the World Health Organization, almost 3,000 people commit suicide daily in the world. Suicide rate has increased by 60% over the past 50 years. In people ages 15-34, suicide is one of the top 3 causes of death.

Depression and anxiety are a torment and often cause people to feel low or hurt themselves, more so than others. I've know friends with schizophrenia who do not hurt others. In fact, a lot of people with mental illnesses are fearful of other people. And some mental illnesses can be brought on by extreme trauma and abuse. The most common one is PTSD. This stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is very common in veterans. It used to be called shell shock before doctors changed it to PTSD.

On the other hand, any mental illness untreated could result in harm of oneself or another in some cases with certain disorders although most ones are being treated and you should not be rude to people who are being treated....So many people self medicate with drugs and alcohol. Many also go untreated. It is staggering to see how much mental illness can lead to incarceration. Nearly 500,000 mentally ill men and women are serving time in American jails, this is 10 times the amount of mentally ill people who are receiving treatment in hospitals. A PBS Front line Documentary calls this rise of imprisonment of the mentally ill in jails, The New Asylums. I find it upsetting when I often hear something in the news of a crime committed by someone mentally ill...because it could have been prevented most likely by treatment. As I say, the majority of mentally ill people hurt themselves. I know of a few people who are schizophrenic who deny they have an illness. This disease of schizophrenia is the trickiest of all because the mind denies it needs help, and it's hard to force someone to get help today and unpleasant of course.

PBS Documentary About (Jails: The New Asylumns)

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Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

Somehow mental illness is rising in America. Stress, lifestyle, breaking down of families could all be factors but more and more people are seeking help and that could be why psych hospitals today limit the stay of people -which can be good- but people may not receive the care and attention they need to get better and avoid coming back.

But don't let anything discourage you. You need to help yourself no matter what. Famous people have suffered from bipolar,depression,etc and they have led remarkable lives!

If you are spiritual, it can help deal. Many find that trusting in God and putting your troubles in Him--there's no other way I know of to sooth ourselves, after all we're only human! and life isn't easy for most! Take it One day at a time, and respect people of all kinds-

Why There Shouldn't be stigma

It is unfair though to stigmatize mentally ill people with labels for lots of reasons. One is that mental illness occurs to 1 in 4 people in their lifetime, and there is a steady rise of suicide as I've mentioned. We need to help not be problematic to the situation. Look at all the abuse that went on in hospitals, particularly state hospitals in the 1920s thru 1940s and even up till recently. Patients were abused by doctors and wards by electric shock treatment, labotomies, and restraints. Now we have jails full of mentally ill people and homeless people as well. What's the solution? Just as any person chooses to be good or bad, so the psychologically ill people choose to be treated or untreated. Try advocating that your loved one gets help if you see that they are having problems with being depressed.

There is a famous doctor, Dr. Peter Breggin, who wrote Toxic Psychiatry, amoung many other books. He is a renowned psychiatrist who advocates for people with disorders of the mind. He spoke of , in his younger years as a medical student, of going into (asylums at the time) and bringing women patients some makeup, and spending time talking to the patients. As a result, many were able to go home to their families because they were treated in this kind, human, respectful fashion. Why can't we do that to our young children and family and friends...try to be of help before they self destruct?

Oh what progress the Mental Health System has made for today! It's easy for someone to acquire a medicine for depression, bipolar, schzophrenia, or anxiety. Though they have some side effects, the positives outweigh the negatives and in many cases talk therapy can replace or assist the distribution of medicine.

I believe personally that in many cases, especially today, if families were stronger and closer and helped each other more, we would have less people commiting suicide and feeling so ill. Stress is a huge contributer to bipolar, depression and anxiety. Our fast paced life styles are just too stressful for most, and if we don't figure a way to relax, what is going to happen? Our lifestyle is not slowing down, it's daily getting faster...more and more fast paces. Students are stressed about grades, bullying in schools, parents divorcing, being accepted, looking like models on the cover of magazines, lack of exercise, eating more and more fast foods!!!!

I've met many people who suffer with different mental illnesses who are good people, who obey the laws, and who try hard to work.

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Comments 24 comments

Kamran100 profile image

Kamran100 6 years ago

intresting hub...*_*

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for your input and visit, Kamran! I enjoy bringing attention to these sometimes overlooked topics! Please stop by anytime! :)

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago

I am curious. what is your connection to this subject? Could you direct me to the article that you have doubtlessly written on that subject?

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA Author

Jaggedfrost-please read the one about bipolar, thx

styles 6 years ago

In some cases I think it does.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA Author


You know, I've thought about this lately, and I have to agree with you....some of the time it does.

take care :)

Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 6 years ago from West Coast

Bi polar disorder is caused by the fact that we have poles, like the earth. I've written hubs, about the effects of magnetic fields within the earth, and the polar irregularities within in mna, especially the female of our kind. These magnetic anomalies are going to become more pronounced as we approach the date described in Revalation. The Mayan calendar also is coming to a full circle. Not the end of the world, just the end of that that we have become familiar with. The Poles of the Earth's magnetosphere is flctuating, preparing for a polarity flip. This is in the geologic record. Bipolar people are being influenced by these magnetic shifts leading to the big event. It is like you are a divining rod.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA Author

I think that is a compliment

Thankyou Druid Dude

I enjoyed your visit and your email

Be blessed lets' pray for each other peace !

Kenneth Ray profile image

Kenneth Ray 6 years ago from Maple Ridge, BC

I am very interested in Mental Illness and its affects on society. Great hub I am going to be following your work.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA Author

Hi Kenneth Ray,

Glad you found your way to my hub! Thank you for the follow! Seriously, I think too many people are mentally ill today, that is to say that the health industry is over medicating people. Perhaps our culture too is too stressful and not family orientated. Can you imagine how for ex: one woman lost her husband and had to raise 2 children alone, whilst grieving....I saw this on the Nanny Rescue show...didn't she have family to help her? Why can't some of us knock on a neighbor's door for comfort? Why is everyone afraid of everyone else. Perhaps some more education in the health fiels will help.

Best wishes!


cobrien profile image

cobrien 5 years ago from Georgia

That's interesting. What people neglect to notice is that people with mental illness who commit crimes usually need their meds adjusted or changed. I am Bipolar and have PTSD and every time I run out of meds, I get arrested for something stupid, Loitering, obstruction, criminal mischief, etc. The problem is that I am poor and uninsured and get stuck on a waiting list. I moved to Ocala on May 24, after my sister passed away. I called the local mental health center immediately. It's been nine months and I still haven't gotten my meds. My appt keeps getting cancelled because court orders and those with insurance get priority. You might be interested to know that I have been arrested twice since I have been off my meds. However, I couldn't imagine doing something as serious as committing murder.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA Author


Lack of care today is serious and a crime for it to be "all about money" but so is the entire health care system so I'm told which is unfortunately the cause of your issue.

As for getting in trouble..perhaps there should not be so many rules for petty things like "stupid petty things.."

Or perhaps this applies also to drug addicts, alcoholics or could apply to anyone. not just you.

I agree you need med help. If you're not getting it- that's on them. pray is all I can say. the world is going down the toilet imo.

Health Talk profile image

Health Talk 5 years ago from World

really interesting hub. Thanks for sharing school girl

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA Author

Thankyou Health Talk,

for commenting and reading!

Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 5 years ago from Wv

Interesting point of view.. I work in a state hospital with the mentally ill. I have seen some people come through here that were mentally ill and committed a crime and I have seen some who committed a crime that were NOT mentally ill. The latter knew the right things to say to be in a hospital and out of jail.

Some folks get committed here because the local judge is tired of fooling with them. The system is failing the people who really need help.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Ms Chievous,

I'm sure I need to fix up this article a bit, I just reread it. From my experience with many ill people, they are more fearful of others than vice versa. But as you say, there are sick people who commit crimes, but I wouldn't put it as the majority...and I suppose there are the opposite those who commited a crime and wanted to go to a hosp istead. Tough situation.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA Author

Just updated this 9/26/11, Lots of new information!

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Very interesting Hub. The statistic that you provided definitely caught my attention. This is something that I have been thinking about because here in my city, there has been a lot of controversy over officer-involved shootings of people with mental illnesses, which has started some discussion over whether our PD needs more training in this area to ensure they know how to deal with these issues.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA Author


Hi and thanks for visiting and commenting :)

I have heard of that before and it is interesting and you are right, the cops need to be more aware of scared people who may act differently....I also feel that pcp's need to be educated and treat the whole person.


beckstorms profile image

beckstorms 4 years ago from Northeastern Pennsylvania

I think you hit the nail on the head with this one! The Mentally Ill are more likely to be the victim of a crime as opposed to being the one committing the crime. I'm currently working with our local law enforcement to try and help them form a program to better train their officers on how to handle mental health crisis's.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

Oh, I see, that's very good.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA Author

Hello, I want to put a new perspective into this hub, after editing it a bit with a photo. Unfortunately when I first joined Hubpages three years ago, I didn't know all the ins and outs!! haha

But my new perspective as to the image above is----we all get sad ok. Some people get very very sad...which is a medical condition. I know this is true because I have pmdd and I had suicidal depressions at certain times of the month.

It's good there is help out there, but don't be mistaken......Having FAITH can overcome pretty much anything.

Faith as in spirituality.


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Jim55 3 years ago

well with what is going on in our world today, i would certainly say so.

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA Author


I think it depends on the person actually. There are many people with mental illness that are taken advantage of but it is often now certain medications which actually cause anger and cause hostility so it's the drug companies we need go after.

Thanks for your comment.

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