NAMI recognizes that when dangerous or violent acts are committed by persons with serious mental illnesses, it is too often the result of neglect or ineffective treatment. Mental health authorities must implement and sustain policies, practices and programs that provide access to early diagnosis, crisis intervention, appropriate treatment (including integrated treatment when there is co-occurring substance abuse) and support that saves lives. NAMI strongly advocates that people with mental illnesses not be stigmatized and subjected to discrimination by being labeled “criminal” or “violent.” There is very rarely correlation between mental illness and violent behavior and mental illness must not be confused with sociopathic behavior.
NAMI recognizes that epidemic gun violence is a public health crisis that extenuates risks of lethal harm by others, self-harm and harm to others for people with mental illnesses. Gun violence is overwhelmingly committed by people without mental illness. NAMI believes that firearms and ammunition should not be easier to obtain than mental health care. NAMI supports reasonable, effective, consistently and fairly applied firearms regulation and safety as well as widespread availability of mental health crisis intervention, assistance and appropriate treatment. In the absence of demonstrated risk, people should not be treated differently with respect to firearms regulation because of their lived experience with mental illness.
Excerpt from Public Policy Platform of NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Tenth Edition,
September 2014. Pg. 74