Sep 17 9:00 PM

Guns, violence and mental health: By the numbers

The American flags surrounding the Washington Monument fly at half-staff as ordered by President Barack Obama following the deadly shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

By Dave Gustafson and Claire Gordon

Monday's deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard rekindled debate on a number of subjects, including military base safety, gun control, mental health issues, government security clearances, workplace violence, federal spending and public safety. 

We broke down some of the biggest issues raised in the wake of this tragedy, by the numbers:

463 workplace homicides last year

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracked a slight dip in workplace killings last year, with 698 people killed by an intentional injury and 463 of these cases classified as homicides. But workplace violence experts like Larry Barton, who counts 40 Fortune 500 companies among his clients, noted an uptick in violent incidents linked to the economic anxieties of the recession and its aftershocks. A 2012 report from the Ethics Resource Center found that physical retaliation against those who report misconduct lept 25 percent since 2009.

64 percent increase in depression or stress between 2010 and 2013

In 2013, 14 percent of people sought professional help for stress or depression, according to a February study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. That’s compared to 9 percent in 2010. At the same time, the study found that one-third of Americans cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments in the last five years. A previous study by the Heldrich Center of the long-term unemployed found that 32 percent were experiencing "a good deal of stress" and half had avoided friends and associates. 

One percent of adults made suicide plans in 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet released suicide data for 2011 or 2012, but the suicide rate has experienced a steady increase over the previous five years. In 2005, there were 10.9 suicides per 100,000 people, and in 2010 that number had jumped 11 percent to 12.1 per 100,000 people -- the highest since 1991. In 2010, one percent of the adult population made suicide plans, 0.5 percent attempted suicide, and on average, 105 people committed suicide every day.

Suicide rate for men 25-64
Source: CDC

373,000 mentally ill Americans may be untreated due to sequestration cuts

This is an estimate (opens as PDF) by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the number of seriously mentally ill adults and emotionally disturbed children who could be going untreated due to sequestration cuts in mental health service. The number has been widely cited in news reports and by the American Psychiatric Association. According to a White House estimate of sequestration effects, "this would likely lead to increased hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these individuals."

The murder rate increased 1.7 percent between 2011 and 2012

That increase -- according to the preliminary annual Uniform Crime Report published by the FBI -- was particularly sharp in cities with a population between 500,000 and a million people. Those cities saw a 12.5 percent jump in the murder rate last year. This comes, however, after an extended period of decline. Specifically, U.S. gun-related homicides plummeted 39 percent between 1993 and 2011, reports the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Nearly 5 million people have security clearance

As of last October, according to The Wall Street Journal. Of those, 1.4 million were top-secret clearances. The number of clearances have risen since 9/11. Congress reported that more than 4.8 million people held clearances in 2011, up from 4.2 million the year before.

Suspected Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis had secret-level clearance and twice passed security checks "despite a history of arrests, mental illness and shooting incidents," The Washington Post reported.

Top gun-rights groups have spent at least $8.8 million on lobbying this year

2013 Getty Images

The NRA spent a record $800,000 on lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of this year while Congress was debating gun-control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. But that spending was eclipsed by lobbying newcomer National Association for Gun Rights, which spent nearly $1.9 million over the same timeframe.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Gun Owners of America and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms round out the top five groups in terms of lobbying for gun rights.

Top groups pushing for gun control spent less than $1 million on lobbying this year

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, founded by New York City's Michael Bloomberg and Boston's Thomas Menino, has spent $830,000 this year lobbying for more gun control, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Sandy Hook Promise group, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Violence Policy Center have each spent between $5,000 and $80,000 on lobbying this year.

Of the 12 deadliest shootings in the US, 6 have been from 2007 onward


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