The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is deeply saddened by the horrific and avoidable school shooting that occurred yesterday in Uvalde, Texas. The mass killing of at least 19 children and two adults at the elementary school impacts all of us. It impacts the mental health of our entire country.
We say the shooting in Uvalde could have been avoided because the nation has failed to act. Littleton, Newtown, Parkland, Blacksburg, Orlando, Las Vegas and most recently Buffalo have been the scenes of mass shootings over the years. Each time, nothing is done, and another tragedy ensues. We should all be free to send our children to schools, to shop for groceries or attend events without the danger of gun violence.
Mental illness is not the problem. It is incorrect and harmful to link mental illness and gun violence, which is often the case following a mass shooting. Pointing to mental illness doesn’t get us closer as a nation to solving the problem and doing so leads to discrimination and stigma against those with mental illness — who are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. People across the globe live with mental illness, but only in the U.S. do we have an epidemic of senseless and tragic mass shootings.
Gun violence is a public health crisis. We urgently need common sense approaches to end gun violence in this country. We all want an end to this senseless violence and trauma, so we need to come together as a nation to find meaningful and sensible solutions.
We are here, ready to help the nation address its trauma. If anyone needs to reach out for resources or help, the NAMI HelpLine is available at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) — open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 10 pm ET.