CBCS News

CBCS Hosts National Experts, Local Leaders for Discussion on Guns, Violence and Mental Health

Photo: Colloquium presenters l to r: Former Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor; CBCS Dean Dr. Julianne Serovich; USF Police spokesperson Lt. Chris Daniel; Dr. Jeffery Swanson, Professor at Duke University School of Medicine; Dr. Alan Lizotte, Professor at State University of New York; Linda MacKinnon, President & CEO, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc.; and Dr. Dwayne Smith, USF Senior Vice Provost & Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies.


The number of attendees and amount of media presence at the October 30th Colloquium on Mental Health, Guns & Violence was testament to the need for a shared public consensus regarding the intersections between mental health problems, the use of guns, and violent acts. The colloquium brought together national experts, local leaders, community and university members to begin a dialogue about how to find consensus on strategies that will acknowledge the right to possess firearms, minimize gun violence both in communities and on college campuses, and promote access to mental health services.

Sponsored by the University of South Florida College of Behavioral & Community Sciences' Departments of Criminology and Mental Health Law and Policy, with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, the colloquium featured presentations about what the public believes and what science has learned about the risk of gun violence among people with mental health disorders.  

National experts participating in the conference included Dr. Alan Lizotte, Professor at State University of New York and Dr. Jeffery Swanson, Professor at Duke University School of Medicine. Tampa Bay area community leaders participating included USF Police spokesperson Lt. Chris Daniel, former Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor and Linda MacKinnon, President & CEO, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc. Dr. Dwayne Smith, USF Senior Vice Provost & Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies served as moderator.

“The response to this colloquium has certainly shown how important the need is for this conversation,” said Dr. Mary Armstrong, Executive Director of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, and event organizer. “Our hope is that this event will inform everyone about what we do know about this topic, be an opportunity for a dialogue about our community’s response, and create a set of action steps for our community.”

Dr. Lizotte’s presentation provided examples of how scientific research can enlighten policy.  Dr. Swanson’s presentation covered current evidence on these issues and discussed implications for clinicians, other mental health stakeholders and the general public.

Participants had the opportunity to engage with the national experts, as well as be part of a facilitated discussion regarding the implications of the colloquium for the Tampa Bay community and USF.  The discussion summary can be viewed here.

 

Media Coverage for October 30th Colloquium on Mental Health, Guns & Violence

WTSP 10 News

WFOX 13 Tampa Bay

TBO|The Tampa Tribune

88.5 WMNF

Tampa Bay Times

Discussion Summary

View video