Ignorance fuels fear of crime

Posted on March 17, 2008 in Education Debates, Equality Debates, Inclusion Debates

TheStar.com – comment – Ignorance fuels fear of crime
March 17, 2008

Re:Residents fight plan for support housing – March 15

What does Steve Tanner think is going to happen if mentally ill people move into a housing complex near his family? Does he suspect greater violence? That’s a misconception.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Current research shows that people with major mental illness are 2.5 times more likely to be the victims of violence than other members of society.” Research also shows that “individuals suffering from psychosis or neurological impairment who live in a stressful, unpredictable environment with little family or community support may be at increased risk for violent behaviour.”

Isn’t it more sensible to ensure that people with a mental illness have a place to call home? How about offering some community support instead of misplaced fear?

Since one in five people is diagnosed with a psychiatric illness at some point in their lives, chances are Tanner knows someone.

Mental illness is a disability, not a crime.

Laura Leavens Hampson, Mississauga

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