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Following AZ Shooting, Mental Health Group Cautions Critics

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Utica, NY (WIBX) – A non-profit organization that works with all of New York’s 62 counties is cautioning the public not to draw conclusions about those suffering from mental illness following the shooting incident in Arizona.

“I think we have to step back and wait until we get more information before we can make judgements. I think we have to tell people, ‘it’s awful what he did, but 99.9% of people with mental illness are not violent,” said Glenn Lebman, executive director of the Mental Health Association of New York.

Lebman is expressing concern about public opinion following reports that the suspected shooter, Jared Loughner, suffers from some kind of mental health issues.

Loughner is accused of killing six people, including a judge and a 9-year-old girl during a shooting rampage outside of an Arizona Safeway market. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is believed to be the target and is still clinging to life. She is one of at least a dozen others who were wounded.

Lebman says the economy and the ‘human impact’ has devastated many families and experts are seeing more and more patients suffering from some sort of mental health issues.

“It’s a natural consequence of this kind of stress in their lives, there’s more and more mental illness. Unfortunatley, what’s happening on the other side is that services are shrinking because of the state budget and the fiscal times we’re in,” Lebman said.

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