Thursday, November 1, 2012

False image of Forensic Mental Health

I am a psychiatrist and my specialty is forensic mental health.

When I introduce myself so, many people is interested in it.
"What is forensic mental health?"
"Have you seen a serial killer?"

Actually, most of my work are far from excitement.

Psychiatric evidence is one of my work.
I meet a mentally disordered offender, and interview with him, examine him, and make a diagnose for him.
Sometimes I am summoned to a court and am ordered to tell about it for judge as a witness.
And then? That's all.

You often see a report about a criminal with mental disorders on a newspaper or internet news site. The contents may include discussion at the criminal trial. Some famous psychologists make a comment about this case.

To be honest, I advise you not to trust them.

The discussion in a criminal trial is hardly understood by non-specialized reporters when it include some special issue such as psychiatry.
Then, specialists can make mistakes about the fact due to incomplete information by news source.

Recently, in Japan, I had an opportunity to get some information about a murder case.
I can not tell about this in detail. An young apprentice killed his master, like a Star Wars Episode.
A famous criminal-psychologist had presented a comment about this case, so called the reason of the murder, or "his dark of the mind."
Indeed, I read the true material with trial and knew that the criminal was suffered from severe psychosis.

So, I have no comment about the case itself after I watched the news about mentally disordered offenders.

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