Whether made in jest or in an attempt to falsely characterize criminal activity as an obvious byproduct of mental health issues, the link between these topics is spurious at best. Rather than assume a link, it is wise to objectively examine the facts as they appear.
While the link between mental health issues and an individual’s predisposition for criminal activity has historically been inflated by popular media and sensationalistic news stories, there are numerous risk factors linking criminality and violence, including:
- Failure to receive adequate treatment: Whether under the care of a psychologist or receiving medical treatment from a psychiatrist, an individual must take steps to receive adequate treatment for his or her condition.
- Subject experiences delusions: The inability to separate reality from hallucinations can make it difficult for someone who struggles with mental health issues to remain fully in control of their situation.
- Subject has long-standing paranoia: Those experiencing paranoia often have trouble gauging their responses to various stimuli. Unfortunately, numerous events can trigger an aggressive response or a response that observers could view as dangerous.
- Subject suffers with substance abuse disorder: Whether in combination with the side effects of psychotropic medication or the effects of the substances themselves, addiction and abuse often create a dangerous environment for those struggling with mental health issues.
- Secondary effects of mental illness: Numerous symptoms of the mental illness could lead to additional problems. For example, cognitive impairment can include decision-making challenges and difficulty following directions.
Unfortunately, countless factors can prohibit an individual from receiving the proper mental health treatment. From cost-prohibitive care to the lack of available facilities, many people struggle to maintain gainful employment and a healthy personal life. A strong defense attorney can shield these individuals from the full force of the criminal justice system.