No Correlation Between Psychiatric Beds and Homicide Rates

The video for this lesson contains time sensitive information. Developments in the project discussed in the video which occurred after the release date are not covered in the video or this curriculum. See “Follow-Up Assignments” below for a way of addressing this fact in your lesson plan.

Lesson Title

No Correlation Between Psychiatric Beds and Homicide Rates

Video title, link and release date

No Correlation Between Psychiatric Beds and Homicide Rates, March 21, 2013

Video Length

Two minutes, Thirty-four seconds

Grade Level

High school


  • There have been calls for a more streamlined institutionalization process of people with mental disabilities following the Sandy Hook massacre.
  • The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law released a study dismissing the idea that there is a correlation between homicide rates and the number of psychiatric beds.

  • Though only a small percentage of homicides involve those with mental illnesses, mental illness has been widely blamed for the recent wave of mass killings.

  • Rather than institutionalization, the Bazelon Center recommends increased funding and focus on community services for those with mental disabilities.


Review Questions:

1. How has the number of patients in psychiatric beds shifted over the past decade?

2. What specific things does the Bazelon Center recommend in order to improve community treatment?

Freewriting “Journal” Prompt:

What about this report do you have questions about?

Why do you think some commentators are so quick to draw a connection between mental illness and homicide?

What do you want to know more about?

Will is the editor for the Galaxy Awareness and History pages as well as one of our pollsters. He is a sophomore at Seattle University majoring in philosophy. His home is La Crosse Wisconsin.