Wednesday, May 06, 2009

An Interesting Statistic

In light of the recent news coverage of the investigation into the murder of a pregnant woman by a man with Schizophrenia in 2005, the BBC Health Correspondent Branwen Jeffreys has this to say:

The number of homicides by people with mental health problems has remained fairly constant at around 50 a year since the 1950s. In the same time frame homicides overall have roughly tripled.

The level of public anxiety about the risk of violence from people with mental health problems is measured by the Department of Health in England as part of a wider survey of attitudes. It suggests a third of people think someone with a mental health problem is likely to be violent.

The public perception of the risk of random violence from someone with mental health issues appears to be out of step with reality.

So in the last half a century, although the rate of murder in the general population has roughly tripled, the number of those with mental illness committing murder hasn't changed. It would be interesting to know how many people in the UK are diagnosed with a mental illness compared to the 1950's, but I always find the internet to be a tad over-rated, and I never seem able to find the information I'm looking for.

The full article can be found here.


cb said...

That is interesting - if only it were more widely reported.

PatientGuard said...

Firstly , sympathies to you for having a person close you suffering from a mental health issue.

The BBC however are really playing a easy pc game - let me expand :

Firstly everyone at UserWatch has lived for decades with mental illness and the figures for homicide the BBC suggest as stable from the 1950's can be put another way :

It means despite all the so called mental health modernisation the figures have remained stable . Is that good ? No .. It means or can mean there's no improvement and truthfully if we dig into the cases what we actually find is poor sods out of control because they were not supervised properly . It is the case in the last tragic killing - its been the case in others where another factor as well as poor treatment and drug supervision has been under-explored by the BBC - namely the reconfiguration of MH services and the desire to make Trusts into "surplus making machines" . Booting people out into the community who cannot handle life easily has created an easy trend to spot - death by mental health Users .. And its reported on .

The stats therefore cover up another truth which is socially constructed and tries to make the public scapegoated and prejudiced.

The real prejudicial streak is over a lack of deep examination and the BBC ought to dig into the subject and oput together all the incidents over time that are down to "modernised services" creating forseeable neglect and death because they rationed staff to save money with political/ideological pressures on them by the Labour Gov't

Take a look at this posting on a journalist feed site in Vancouver (where the BBC sniff about too)

And God Bless you and yours

Patientguard .

PatientGuard said...

POSTING HERESorry , forgot the code for shortening URL's

Dont it now though


PatientGuard said...

ps . Thanks for the link to BBC - it will be examined ..

Bluesilk said...

have seen your blog dotted about and recommended on TWIM, so thought I'd drop by :)
The article is interesting. In terms of public education it would be useful to break that '50' down into which mental illnesses are involved. I think (not 100% sure) it's the case that homicides tend to be more often perpetrated by someone the victim knows across the board, whether that person had prior mental health issues or not.
Louise x