Evaluating threats of mass shootings in the psychiatric setting

Amy Barnhorst, John S. Rozel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Psychiatrists may encounter patients at risk of perpetrating mass shootings or other mass violence in various settings. Most people who threaten or perpetrate mass violence are not driven by psychiatric symptoms; however, psychiatrists may be called upon to evaluate the role of mental illness plays in the risk or threat, and to treat psychiatric symptoms when present. Regardless of whether psychiatric treatment is likely to reduce symptoms or the potential for violence, the psychiatrist should collaborate closely with law enforcement, potential targets, and other agencies involved to mitigate risk. Such communications are governed by various privacy laws and duties to third parties. Additional measures, like protective orders, may be a means of restricting the subject’s access to firearms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • firearms
  • forensic psychiatry
  • gun violence
  • Mass shootings
  • mental illness
  • red flag laws
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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