Are mentally ill more violent?

The science of violence becomes clear when you look at the totality of mental illness violence studies versus any single study. The definitive answer is: It depends on who is mentally ill

  • Studies of the 40 to 50 percent of Americans whom mental health experts claim have some “diagnosable mental disorder” support the claim that “persons with mental illness are not more violent than others.” But the populations in those studies are disingenuously large.
  • Studies of the 5 percent of Americans with the most serious mental illnesses — primarily schizophrenia and treatment-resistant bipolar disorder — who are receiving treatment also support the claim of mental-health experts that “persons with mental illness are not more violent than others.” But these studies prove only that treatment works, not that persons with mental illness are not more prone to violence.
  • Studies of the 5 percent of subgroup of the most seriously mentally ill who are not in treatment and are psychotic, delusional, or hallucinating, or are off treatment that has previously prevented them from being violent, are in fact more prone to violence than others.
    When people ask whether the mentally ill are more violent, they usually mean this group of severely ill individuals and not their friends on Zoloft, Prozac, etc.

Colorado Commitment Standards For both inpatient and outpatient:

COLO. REV. STAT. § 27-10-111(1). “The court or jury shall determine that the respondent is in need of care and treatment only if the court or jury finds such person mentally ill and, as a result of such mental illness, a danger to others or to himself or gravely disabled . . . .”
COLO. REV. STAT. § 27-10-102(5) (a) “Gravely disabled” means a condition in which a person, as a result of mental illness: (I) Is in danger of serious physical harm due to his inability or failure to provide himself the essential human needs of food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; or (II) Lacks judgment in the management of his resources and in the conduct of his social relations to the extent that his health or safety is significantly endangered and lacks the capacity to understand that this is so.(b) A person who, because of care provided by a family member or by an individual with a similar relationship to the person, is not in danger of serious physical harm or is not significantly endangered in accordance with paragraph (a) of this subsection (5) may be deemed “gravely disabled” if there is notice given that the support given by the family member or other individual who has a similar relationship to the person is to be terminated and the individual with mental illness: (I) Is diagnosed by a professional person as suffering from: Schizophrenia; a major affective disorder; a delusional disorder; or another mental disorder with psychotic features; and(II) Has been certified, pursuant to this article, for treatment of such disorder or has been admitted as an inpatient to a treatment facility for treatment of such disorder at least twice during the last thirty-six months with a period of at least thirty days between certifications or admissions; and (III) Is exhibiting a deteriorating course leading toward danger to self or others or toward the conditions described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (5) with symptoms and behavior which are substantially similar to those which preceded and were associated with his hospital admissions or certifications for treatment; and (IV) Is not receiving treatment which is essential for his health or safety.

Who can petition for involuntary treatment in CO

For evaluation: 27­10­106.(2) Any individual may petition the court in the county in which the respondent resides or is physically present alleging that there is a person who appears to be mentally ill and, as a result of such mental illness, appears to be a danger to others or to himself or appears to be gravely disabled and requesting that an evaluation of the person’s condition be made.

CO is short 1400 psych beds for mentally illl

Colorado has about 800 psychiatric hospital beds for seriously mentally illl
If CO had excellent community services (they don’t) they would need 2,200 beds
Therefore Colorado is short about 1400 beds
As a result, hospitals lock the front door, open the back, and discharge patients sicker and quicker.

Mentally ill 4 times more likely to be incarcerated in CO than hospitalized

There are about 34,000 people incarcerated in CO
About 16% (5440) are estimated to have mental illness
There are 1,325 people in all psych beds (public and private) in CO
Therefore you are roughly 4 times more likely to be incarcerated in OH

DJ Jaffe is Executive Director of the non-partisan Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He is a critic of the mental health industry for ignoring the seriously ill, and has been advocating for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness for over 30 years. He has written op-eds on the intersection of mental health and criminal justice policy for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post. New York Magazine has credited him with being the driving force behind the passage of New York’s Kendra’s Law and Congress incorporated ideas proposed by DJ in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.