Is There A Relationship Between Mental Illness and Crime?

Research shows that every year one in five Americans suffer from a mental illness that interferes with their daily routines.

That relates to millions and millions of people suffering from either depression, anxiety or some other form of mental illness. While there is incredible access to resources for people wanting help, the number of disorders are still higher than the number of mental health professionals available to help.

Mental Illness

The number of mental illnesses among youth is on the rise. There is an increasing amount of disorders such as attention deficit, depression, anxiety and eating disorders that youth are finding harder to deal with in recent times.

The mental illnesses among prisoners are alarming. In state prisons, over fifty percent of men prisoners and over 70 percent of women prisoners have at least one mental health disorder. In federal prisons, over 60 percent of women prisoners and over 40 percent of men prisoners suffer from mental illness. And in local jails, over 75 percent of women inmates and over 60 percent of male inmates need help for a mental illness.

With numbers like these, it makes you wonder who doesn’t have a mental health disorder?

Risk Reducers

People who are not showing signs of mental illness are those who go above and beyond to avoid the risks associated with mental health disorders. Many reports suggest that people can make serious efforts to lower their chances of getting a mental illness. Some say promoting positive mental health is a great strategy. Promoting positive mental health can include teaching people how to eat healthy, exercise, and how to handle negative experiences with resilience.

Some of the stressful life experiences in which you can learn resilience include losing a loved one to death, divorce or marital problems, and loss of a job. Other experiences may include personal injuries, financial problems, or foreclosure on a home. A few others include a change in friendships or fights with friends, pregnancy and even moving to a new location.

Once you learn how to overcome obstacles and risks, then you are much more capable of avoiding mental health disorders.

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Disease Resisters

Physical health is just as important as mental health. It means you are connected. If you can do whatever you can to resist diseases, then you likely have a chance of fighting mental illness. There are several ways to prevent diseases such as getting vaccinated, not smoking, and maintaining good hygiene to avoid physical ailments.

If you feel bad physically, your mental health can feel bad too. Think about it, when you have the flu, you don’t necessarily feel like laughing and dancing. Or if you have a broken leg and can’t participate in the sport you love for a while, you may feel temporarily depressed. It just makes sense that if you keep your physical health at its best, your mental health will feel much better also.


If you have access to positive resources such as healthy living environments, adequate food, and access to good jobs have a better chance at avoiding mental illness. It is also important that you have access to good healthcare professionals who can offer ways to help you avoid the risk of triggering mental health disorders.

Communication and education is a great way to promote the resources available to everyone in a community. It is also important to address the issues within the community that create mental health problems.

The health of a community is extremely important. The community needs to come together as a team and conquer the problems within it. If the doctors and dentists and mental health professionals within a community work together to promote their services, reduce rates for some, offer fee scales and even provided pro bono work, then the members of that community will be healthier. Adults within the community can then focus on improving the mental and physical health of their children and before you know it, the cycles of poor mental illness have been changed.

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The Restful

Getting the proper rest is a direct link to good mental and physical health. There are many benefits of sleep, but perhaps one of the most important is how sleep helps support a healthy mental state.

It has been well noted that sleep-related problems are often seen among people who are suffering from mental health disorders. Sleep is the time where your brain helps your body recover from any damage. During sleep, the brain chemicals can return to normal and neurotransmitters can send healing messages to the rest of the body. This is vital for good mental health.

There are many ways to get good rest. Making the time to participate in activities to help you wind down. These can include drinking warm tea, turning off electronics, taking a warm bath, essential oils, and avoid caffeine and sugar.

The Non- Reporters

That’s right, some people are considered to not have a mental health disorder simply because they don’t see a doctor and don’t ever get a diagnosis. It is not because you don’t want to have a diagnosis, while the stigma can still be an issue. However, sometimes they don’t feel they have the access to proper treatment, such as the homeless population or those without mental health insurance.

It has been reported that between 30 and 50 percent of people with a mental health problem go undiagnosed in higher income countries such as the United States. This is staggering since mental health disorders are more prevalent than cancer and diabetes.

Those who do get diagnosed reportedly could have gotten their diagnosis a lot sooner in life, even in their teens. It has been reported that while many kids get diagnosed with attention deficit disorders, they are not likely they get diagnosed with other illnesses such as anxiety and phobias and depression.

So, obviously, not getting diagnosed and not getting reported as having a mental health disorder is not a great way to avoid mental illness. But the other suggestions are extremely helpful solutions. Keep yourself healthy mentally by getting good rest. Be resourceful and find out where you can get good food, a good job, and good healthcare. Take your mental health and physical health seriously and take great strides in making sure your health is a priority. In doing so, you will know you have done everything possible to avoid a mental health disorder taking over your life.