Dec 04

Could Strong Mental Health Safety Nets Reduce Gun Violence?

In the wake of last week’s murder-suicide where Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, and later took his own life at Arrowhead Stadium, one question stands out among all others: why?

Early accounts describe Belcher as a model NFL player and underdog story out of the University of Maine. However, in later reports it appears that he was suffering from mental health issues caused by relationship and financial problems as well as other unknown factors. The Chiefs counseled Belcher, but unfortunately the NFL’s new safety net designed to support players with mental health problems ultimately failed in the case of this promising young player.

If the NFL is to learn from this tragedy, as it tried to with other tragic deaths in the past year, it can start by making mental health issues a top priority.¬†However, it won’t be easy for the league or for any organization or government for that matter seeking to reduce gun violence. Forensic psychiatrist at UCSF Dr. Renee Binder explains the challenges in the clip below.

Mental Illness Causes More Violent Gun Crime from Commonwealth Club on FORA.tv

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