John Oliver Nails the Real Problem With Discussing Mental Health and Shootings


Often in the aftermath of a mass shooting, like the tragedy at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College last Thursday, politicians and the media speculate why, sometimes focusing on the mental health of the shooter. Or, as John Oliver put it on Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “There’s nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest in mental health.”

Then in a 12-minute monologue (below), Oliver nails why discussing mental health issues after a mass shooting — and only after a mass shooting — is not only misleading but unproductuve, considering fewer than 5 percent of gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were committed by people diagnosed with mental disorders.

“In real life, mental health can be somewhat of a touchy topic,” Oliver says. “We don’t like to talk about it much… and when we do, we don’t talk about it well.”

Instead of dwelling on the possible connection between mental health and shootings, Oliver broke down our “clusterf*ck” of a mental health system, proving the conversation about mental health shouldn’t start, or end, with shootings.

Watch the full video below:


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