A new Statistics Canada (StatsCan) study has identified that mental health is strongly associated with violent victimization, including sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault. The rate of violent victimization for those who reported having a mental health disability or learning disability, or who self-reported their mental health as poor or fair was over four times the rate of those who identified their mental health as excellent or very good. Furthermore, people who experience childhood abuse reported a rate of violent victimization double that of those who had not experience childhood abuse. The overall rate of violent victimization in 2014 declined 28 percent since 2004. Rates for all types of violence declined, except that of sexual assault which remained the same.
Misconceptions about the link between violence and mental health fuel stigma and discrimination experienced by people with lived experience of mental health issues (PWLE). Although PWLE are more likely to experience violence and are no more likely to engage in it than the general population, we often come across negative and inaccurate stereotypes of PWLE as violent. CMHA Ontario has explored this issue in depth in our discussion paper Violence and Mental Health: Unpacking a Complex Issue.
For more information, please read the StatsCan study.