Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 442–446 | Cite as

Mass Shootings and the News Media: What Can Psychiatrists Do?

  • Muhammad Hassan MajeedEmail author
  • Donna M. Sudak
  • Eugene Beresin
Column: Media

Mass shootings in the USA receive extensive coverage in the news media. While only 15% of the shootings are directed at random strangers, these shootings of strangers account for 40% of all deaths in the total of all mass shootings [1]. The media attention is not surprising: the number and type of victims in these shootings—frequently students at school or ordinary citizens engaged in normal activities—are vividly portrayed by news services making these events especially horrifying. The news about these events may go instantaneously viral on social media platforms— without verification and authentication—making these events more terrifying for the public.

Mass shootings are tragic, infrequent and constitute a small fraction of the total number of gun deaths. There are an estimated 300 million guns in the possession of 80 million people in the USA and approximately 38,658 annual gun deaths of which the largest number (22,938) are suicides [2, 3]. Homicides account for the next largest...



This study was performed independently of any financial support. We do not acknowledge anyone else’s contribution. Manuscripts that are authored by a member of the Editorial Staff or the Editorial Board undergo the same editorial review process applied to all manuscripts, including blinded peer review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Consideration

No IRB approval was needed for this study.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natchaug HospitalMansfield CenterUSA
  2. 2.Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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