Expert opinions describe the accused Tucson shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, as suffering from a psychotic disorder. Various descriptions of Loughner’s behavior before the shooting meet the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia. Julie Schenecker, the Tampa, Florida mother who recently admitted to fatally shooting her two teenage children in the head, is also described by experts as suffering from a psychotic disorder.
The intersection of psychotic disorders and violent criminal behavior becomes widely publicized in high-profile, mass-murder cases such as these. Unlike any other medical condition, a psychotic episode can result in violent criminal behavior against others. The relationship between mental illness and violence has a significant effect on mental health policy, clinical practice, and public opinion about the perceived dangerousness of people with psychiatric disorders . Violence towards others by a minority of individuals under psychotic distress is a significant public health concern which involves conflicting opinions concerning the right of the patient to treatment, and punishment for the crimes they commit  [ 4].
Public discussion to prevent tragedies like the Tucson shooting examines early warning signs of severe mental illness, mental health intervention and the ethics of compulsory treatment in psychiatry  . The main consideration regarding preventative measures involves family, friends, educators and mental health professionals initiating intervention and compulsory treatment when obvious psychotic behavior is observed in others.
The emergence of participatory concepts in mental health care creates further considerations that encompass the ability to empower mental health consumers to become engaged in recognizing symptoms, selecting treatment options and working in partnership to develop illness self-management recovery programs  . Empowerment concepts are critically needed to strengthen the mental health care system. Innovative strategies targeting informed, safe decisions must be sought in order to involve mental health consumers in the prevention and recovery of psychotic disorders.
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