By Googling “prevalence of mental illness by country,” I found that the U.S. had the highest rate (26.4%), according to a study of 14 countries dated July 7, 2004.

If the accepted rate of mental illness is 25% for those involved in gun violence, their rate is no more than that for the general population, which may mean that 25% just happens to be mentally ill and is not necessarily a causative factor.

People with mental illness usually kill themselves, not others, unless they have an axe to grind.

According to Mark Pollack, M.D., past president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and Grainger Professor and chairman, Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, “More than 90% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable illness such as clinical depression, and often in combination with anxiety or substance use disorders and other treatable mental disorders.”

Maybe President Trump should tone down his rhetoric blaming mental illness for gun violence and asking for more outdated mental health institutions and put more energy and money into support for affordable community facilities for earlier access and treatment of patients with mental illness.

Notable is the availability of a new treatment for severe depression approved by the FDA on March 5, which works immediately instead of three to four weeks and is expected to help the 30% of patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Darrell R. Hazle, DMD, Broken Arrow

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