John Oliver slams Republicans who blame mass shootings on mental illness

‘The vast majority of mentally ill people are non-violent’

Justin Carissimo
New York
Monday 05 October 2015 20:27 BST

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has a strong message for Republicans who bring up the issue of mental health after mass shootings.

“If we're going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control then the very least we owe them is a f***ing plan."

Oliver is critical of GOP candidates in the presidential 2016 race who pointed to America’s lackluster mental health care in the wake of the shooting that killed 10 people in Roseberg, Oregon.

"The aftermath of a mass shooting might actually be the worst time to talk about mental health. Because for the record, the vast majority of mentally ill people are nonviolent,” he said, calling out candidates like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump.

And the vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally ill people. In fact, mentally ill people are far likelier to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. So the fact we tend to only discuss mental health in a mass shooting context is deeply misleading."

He also criticises the 2009 report that "nearly 125,000 young and middle-aged adults with serious mental illness lived in US nursing homes.” Some facilities have even practiced “Greyhound therapy” where patients were given a bus ticket to new cities after being discharged too soon. The Sacramento Bee reports that the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas sent more than 1,500 patients to cities across the country to merely combat their growing number of patients.

“You can’t just put people you don’t want to see on a bus to another city, if you could, that’s how every breakup would end,” Oliver jokes.

Another alarming statistic Oliver confronts is that jails are the largest mental health providers in the states — 2 million inmates with mental illness go to state and local jails every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Treatment Advocacy Center. That’s 10 times more people in jail than state-funding psychiatric treatment centers.

“Finding out jails are our largest provider of mental health treatment is like finding out Lil’ Wayne is our greatest source of sexual education. No, Darren. You can’t 'flip it up and serve it like a spatula,' where did you even learn that?”

Watch the entire segment here:

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