According to recent research and the latest medical study certain violence risk factors associated with mental illness can be predicted. The researchers identified 3 specific factors that could up the odds of violent behavior by an individual who has been diagnosed with mental illness. These risk factors are the use of alcohol, being the victim of violence and behavior that is violent, and engaging in violent behavior. Mental health professionals should pay close attention to these three risk factors in order to predict which mentally ill patients may become violent in the future. Early intervention by mental health professionals could minimize or even eliminate the risk of violence in this class of patients. The recent study utilized a database with information on more than 4,400 cases and patients who were diagnosed with some form of mental illness, and these mental disorders included bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
North Carolina State University associate professor of psychology Dr. Sarah Desmarais was one of the co-authors on the research study paper concerning the link between violence risk factors and mental illness. According to Desmarais “Our earlier work found that adults with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators —and that is especially relevant to this new study. One of the new findings is that people with mental illness who have been victims of violence in the past six months are more likely to engage in future violent behavior themselves. We found that these risk factors were predictive even when we accounted for age, sex, race, mental illness diagnosis and other clinical characteristics. This is useful information for anyone working in a clinical setting. But it also highlights the importance of creating policies that can help protect people with mental illness from being victimized. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it makes for safer communities.”