If you ask the average gun owner what to do about the gun problem in America, it’s not a gun problem—it’s a mental illness problem. Motivation for white right-wing terrorist attacks has been pinned on mental illness. On the other side of the political fence, mental illness is becoming the rallying cry for people denouncing President Trump’s erratic behavior in office and at press conferences. It seems everyone is bringing up mental illness whenever someone exhibits abnormal or harmful behavior.
Now, I’m not trying to talk about gun problems, or problems with right-wing politics, or problems with our president. I’m actually trying to talk about the mental health problem. Mental illness is used so often as an explanation that we frequently forget that it hasn’t been fully explored as a question. There’s a stigma surrounding it. People are scared of it. And I think that that stigma and fear stem largely from the failure to distinguish between mental illness and untreated mental illness.