EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)  – While the debate around how mass shootings can be prevented is still very much ongoing, a local mental health expert explained what misconceptions are arising aimed at people who struggle from mental health issues. 

Conversations following the mass shooting in Uvalde: what made the guman commit such a horrific act? What is the solution for finding a way to prevent mass shootings from happening? It is not the first time these conversations are being held in Texas.

While one side is saying mental health is the root cause when it comes to mass shootings, the other side says it’s the lack of gun restrictions.  

Isidro Torres, executive director of NAMI and mental health expert said, it is dangerous to attribute such violent acts to people with mental illnesses. 

“We know that individuals living with mental health conditions are more likely to be victims of violence rather than be perpetrators,” Torres said. 

He explained less than 10% of mass shootings are caused due to a mental health illness. 

“I believe Sometimes these mental illnesses are being used as a scapegoat. Sometimes it is easier to point at a mental illness than to look at sensible solutions to be able to convince,” Torres said. 

He admitted mental health resources are severely underfunded across the country, but especially in Uvalde and in El Paso as well. 

Torres said when you blame mental illness for such acts of violence it creates more stigma, fear and discrimination, often making thse who are suffering from an illness to be less likely to come forward about their problems. 

He recognized the Uvalde shooting was triggering for the El Paso community and suggests for anyone struggling to call NAMI El Paso to 915-778-5726, or Emergence Health Network to 915-771-800.

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