Counselor: Mental Illness not a major factor in gun violence

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Even before the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, people ranging from political figures to gun rights advocates argue factors other than firearms result in gun violence.

Among them: President Donald Trump, who said Tuesday, "it's a mental problem".

But Dr. Marilyn Pasquarelli, a licensed counselor at Westbrook Health Services in Parkersburg, is among professionals saying mental illness does not cause people to commit mass shootings.

"First, that is not true, and second, it does not promote the cause of trying to get folks into treatment so that they don't have issues that can keep them from being functioning adults."

Dr. Pasquarelli cites a study by two psychiatrists stating only 1% of gun violence was a result of mental illness. Drs. Lisa Gold and Robert Simon wrote about their findings in the book "Gun Violence and Mental Illness".

There's something that has been a recurring factor, some may have confused with mental issues.

"Oftentimes, there are diagnosable disorders anger might be a symptom of. People might have a short fuse, they might have poor impulse control. But anger is not a mental illness."

She says education is needed, so that people will understand mentally ill people "are not monsters. They come from all walks of life; they're lawyers, doctors, they're moms, they're dads. There's teenagers, there's children."

And that, even in the 21st century, there's still a stigma about mental illness.