RTI International to host policy forum on clarifying link between mental illness and violent events

WASHINGTON – In light of tragedies across the country of highly publicized cases of violence perceived to be committed by those with mental illness, RTI International will hold a policy forum to provide a clearer understanding of the link between mental illness and violent events May 26 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Stereotyping and sensationalized media portrayals lead many to believe those with mental illness are unpredictably dangerous and likely to perpetrate acts of violence; contrary to research that shows those with mental illness are actually more likely to be victims than initiators of violence. A stronger understanding of the link between the two may help reduce the social stigma, rejection and public fear of those with mental illness.

The forum, titled “Mental Illness and Violent Events: Identifying, Managing and Reducing Risks,” aims to shed light on the correlation between mental illness and violence. The panel will draw from research to answer questions about the prevalence of violence in those with mental illness, as well as what they believe are the most effective ways to assess and manage violence risk, among other pressing questions, including the role of mental illness in gun violence.

Experts will recommend steps to effectively manage and reduce violence risk through evidence-based practices. The forum aims to demystify the role of mental illness in violent events, clarify its scope, and provide intervention targets that can help decrease the risk of violence.

The panel includes:

  • Duren Banks, Ph.D., senior research criminologist, RTI International
  • Leslie Citrome, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, New York Medical College
  • Sarah Desmarais, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, North Carolina State University
  • Josh Horwitz, J.D., executive director, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
  • Jeff Swanson, Ph.D., professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University

Richard Van Dorn, Ph.D., senior mental health services researcher at RTI will moderate the program. Tim Gabel, executive vice president of Social, Statistical and Environmental Sciences at RTI will give the welcome.

The forum is free and open to the public. The event will be live streamed and recorded. To attend the forum online or in person, please register here.

 

Highlights

  • RTI International will hold a policy forum to provide a clearer understanding of the link between mental illness and violent events May 26 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
  • The panel will draw from research to answer questions about the prevalence of violence in those with mental illness, as well as what they believe are the most effective ways to assess and manage violence risk, among other pressing questions, including the role of mental illness in gun violence