We commonly hear that jails and prisons are loaded with mentally ill people. They aren’t. This illusion was created by flawed data and bad assessment, which actually harms the mentally ill who already struggle to find adequate treatment & escape stigma.
The legal system often struggles to define and manage mental illnesses in criminal cases, but personality disorders make the issue of definition and culpability even more complex.
Media and public figures often pair mass shootings and gun violence with mental illness. This is a reckless and ill-informed myth that harms the mentally ill and results in widespread misrepresentations of mental illness. It also fails to account for those who are truly guilty of these atrocities.
Although diagnosing mental illness can be challenging, mental health clinicians too often make reckless misdiagnoses. The consequences of misdiagnosis are wide-ranging, all of which include poor outcomes for patients. Clinicians need to return to simple, ethical best practices to solve this prolific problem.