When Doctors Diagnose Danger

September 2, 2016

(Scientific American) – Mental illness is a frequent talking point in the wake of mass shootings in our country. Politicians refer to the shortcomings of our mental health system and promise to deliver legislative reforms. Media coverage often suggests that if the shooters had been in treatment, these tragedies might never have occurred. But our national conversation usually ends there. We rarely talk about the realities of identifying dangerous patients and the difficult decisions that mental health providers face in these scenarios.