Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Expert: Mental health not always root of violence, tragedy

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Buffalo: Expert: Mental health not always root of violence, tragedy
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Friday's shooting is not only renewing the debate over gun control, it's raising a conversation about a possible connection between violence and mental illness. YNN's Meg Rossman spoke with an expert on the shooting and what he believes is to blame for the recent increase in gun violence nationwide.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "All we have is a rumor going through the media, so who knows what the real situation is," Dr. Steven Dubovsky, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Buffalo said.

And though little is known about 20-year-old Adam Lanza's motive behind the deadly shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, media reports about why it happened, according to Dubovsky, are only adding to increased violence nationwide.

"They show his name and his picture right there, covers the entire TV screen. I was thinking what are you doing? Why don't you put him on the cover of Time Magazine? Why are you advertising him?"

Reports that Lanza had a history of mental illness have raised a debate over the connection between violence and those suffering with those diseases. Though nothing on Lanza's background has been confirmed, Dubovsky said there's typically no connection.

"If those people have a mental illness it is mighty rare that that mental illness caused them to do this,” he said. “I don't know of mental illness that would cause you to shoot a group of children."

In fact, Dubovsky said there are often no warning signs associated with violence like Friday’s – at least not any that are noticed until afterward, adding that the best way to cope with a situation like this, however, is to talk about it.

"One of my nurses was just telling me that her little boy was asking her that do they think I'm going to be a murderer because he's a murderer? They said he had Asperger's and I have Asperger's. I think a lot of parents have to tell their kids, no, this does not mean you're going to kill someone."

Instead, he believes it’s time to focus on the heroes and victims at Sandy Hook and stop glamorizing acts of violence.

"What we should say is let's do what we can to help those people and what we can in our own communities to make it a better community so people won't feel like they're in such danger."

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