Violence by mentally ill not the norm


Violence by mentally ill not the norm


By:Sarah A. Newlin
Posted: 4/27/07

I am writing in response to Richard Poskozim's opinion piece in the 4/25 issue of The Lantern.

In the article, the author seems to imply that Cho's motivation to kill somehow originated from his alleged mental illness: "After everything that's come out about him, I think it's pretty safe to say his motivation was that he was crazy." While it is clear that something had deeply distressed Mr. Cho, one should be careful about jumping to conclusions about how mental illness played a role in this tragic event. Numerous studies have shown that it is incredibly rare for someone with a mental illness to commit gross acts of violence, especially on the scale of the Virginia Tech shootings. Violence is no more prevalent among individuals with mental illnesses than among the general public.

In actuality, those suffering from a mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. Furthermore, I am concerned that the focus on the shooter's possible mental illness will cause many students on college campuses who suffer from mental illnesses to not seek mental health services or to be feared and shunned by their peers, leading to their further isolation and discrimination.

If any positives can come out of this horrible event, I hope that one will be a larger discussion about the need for increased recognition of mental health issues among college students and the need for adequate treatment, support and recovery resources on college campuses. I ask that The Lantern staff take this into consideration as they continue to cover the tragic circumstances surrounding the Virginia Tech shootings.

Sarah A. Newlin
Program Manager
Campus Suicide Prevention Program


Original Source:<a href=>The Lantern - April 27, 2007</a>


Sarah A. Newlin


The Lantern




Sara Hood


GERRICK LEWIS <[email protected]>




Sarah A. Newlin, “Violence by mentally ill not the norm,” The April 16 Archive, accessed November 24, 2015,