Psychiatrists concerned about media portrayal of mentally ill

Press Release – The Royal ANZ College of Psychiatrists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand National Committee is concerned about media commentary regarding psychiatric patients in the community following the recent sad death of a man in Auckland.

“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand National Committee is saddened for the victim and his family and that an incident of this nature has occurred. The Committee understands that the community is interested in appropriate standards of care for people with mental illness. It is concerned that the resulting discussion in the media about people with mental health problems living in the community perpetuates misconceptions about mental illness,” said Dr Rosie Edwards, Chair of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand National Committee.

“Homicide perpetrated by someone with a serious mental illness is rare. Homicide associated with mental illness represents a small proportion of total homicides. In fact, a New Zealand study shows that less than 10% of all homicides are committed by people with serious mental illness,” said Dr Edwards.

“There is no evidence that community based care has been associated with an increased risk of homicide by people who are mentally ill according to the study,” said Dr Edwards.

“The percentage of all homicides committed by people with mental illness fell from 19.5% in 1970 to 5% in 2000. Therefore there has been a decrease in homicide levels which corresponds with deinstitutionalization of mental health patients into community care. There is a benefit to people with mental illness in being part of the community,” said Dr Edwards.

“People with mental illness are of little harm to the general community and are generally not dangerous. Caution is needed that one event does not lead to the undoing of the benefits of many years of work to improve the services available to people within their communities, nor to the imposition of more restrictions upon the lives of people whose recovery from mental illness has been enhanced by the opportunities that greater independence has brought. Research shows that homicide victims of those with serious mental illness are much more commonly known to the perpetrator than those without mental illness,” said Dr Edwards.
“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand National Committee supports full investigation into the incident by relevant authorities. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand National Committee acknowledges that even with good treatment delivered by quality services incidents can occur. Psychiatrists are committed to providing the best available psychiatric care,” said Dr Edwards.

Note: Statistics included in this media release are from the report ‘Myth and Reality: The relationship between mental illness and homicide in New Zealand’, Health Research Council of New Zealand, August 2003
About The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is the principal organisation representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical practitioners.

Content Sourced from
Original url



  1. Lehar, 1. July 2012, 19:11

    “living in the community” o you mean the loone-o’s pigging up Point Chevalier main street to the point that a normal person cannot enjoy a walk down the street, filthifying the streets, the benches, yelling at people and assaulting them, with the police office rarely if ever open (they’re not stupid).

  2. Finlay smith, 3. July 2012, 16:33

    Why is there no independant authority to take the concerns about a mental patient that is out of control and getting is the general public that see the actions of the mental patient declining health and stability not the patient themselves.a mental patient off their meds is avery very dangerous and we should be able to report it for the safety of our families and the mental patients.the public is there to help and care and we need the tools to keep them and us safe.

  3. Harold, 3. July 2012, 17:02

    I did garden work for a doctor annualy.this time I only saw him in the morning once,unusual,as he would normally be around all day.when I got home I got a call from him to say ” I shouldnt realy tell you this but that worker you had with you is extremly dangerous if off medication,I was realy worried he may see me and then know where I live”.Is this how the doctors operate “as long as he doesnt live next to me”.When professionals become responsible for their decisions then better decisions will be made and we will have less unsafe people in our community.
    Average people in the community are blind to and need some protection.

  4. Finlay, 3. July 2012, 18:16

    The 5%.
    Went to deans funeral today( the latest victim of aparently mis-managed mental patient off meds and out of control).dean has a lovely family and grew up in a loving family setting.realy sad that this could have been avoided.

  5. Jen, 9. July 2012, 15:26

    “The 5%”
    This mean 95% of homicides are committed by those who do not have mental health problems. Most murders and violent attacks are committed by men. Does this mean we should vilify all men by association? People living with mental illness have enough to deal with without the backward, ignorance of people like those commenting here stigmatising them further. The truth is a person with a mental health condition is far more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. Our communities are far more at risk from the uneducated bigots who, like schoolyard bullies, want to stamp out anything they don’t understand. It scare me how vicious this country is toward its most vulnerable citizens – the solo parents, the jobless, the homeless and the unwell. Shame on you New Zealand


    […] Scoop Share this:ShareEmailFacebookRedditPrint This entry was posted in News and tagged falling, homicide, ill, mentally by adminmssat. Bookmark the permalink. […]