Public violence associated with mental illness is currently a hot topic. Such violence is, like an aircraft crash — rare statistically, similarly feared and widely publicized. But aircraft flight is highly regulated; pilots are screened, monitored and tested, and everything possible is done to ensure public safety. Mental illness, however, remains largely unregulated; its sufferers are often unmonitored and untreated (except in prison). Society acts to uncover and eliminate all causes of aircraft accidents, but it often stigmatizes the mentally ill into time bombs of silence and isolation.
Why are we not as collectively motivated to improve the mental health system as we are toward safety of flight? Perhaps because we all fly and acknowledge that an aircraft crash may happen to “us” — but mental illness only happens to “them.”
However, statistics say otherwise, and we can surely help ourselves by fully supporting local organizations and initiatives treating mental illness and combating stigma.