Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Treating mental illness may reduce crime

Posted By on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Untreated mental illness is sometimes tied to crime.
  • Untreated mental illness is sometimes tied to crime.

Resource Advocacy Center coordinator Connie Allen sent me a link to an article in Psychology Today this morning.

Allen's organization works with the homeless here in the Springs. They take the long-term approach, patiently working with individuals, helping them when they're ready (read more about the program at http://bit.ly/9RpGFP).

A lot of what the homeless need, Allen has told me before, is health care. Particularly mental health care.

There's plenty of food here in the Springs. And there's a lot of other resources, too. But if a person can't address mental illness, they're just not likely to be able to pick up their lives and start anew. And while certainly not all homeless people have a mental illness, quite a few do.

The article Allen sent me was just more proof of how right she is on this one. In the small piece, titled "A Cure for Crime" the author notes that the FBI has recorded a drop in crime across the country recently. And a recent study by Dave Marcotte of the University of Maryland and Sara Markowitz of Emory University shows that the drop may in part be due to an increase in the use of psychiatric medication.

That's because a lot of people who commit crimes struggle with mental illness. Treat the illness, and the crime stops.

It's a pattern much like Allen sees at the Resource Center. Treat the mental illness, and a person who couldn't get off the streets suddenly can.

Read the Psychology Today story here: http://bit.ly/cOCoXg

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