Poll: Mental health linked to Arizona shooting

Most Americans believe that the Arizona shooting that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) seriously wounded was caused by the failure of the mental health system to identify dangerous individuals, a new poll found.

Fifty-five percent blamed the Arizona shooting on the mental health system’s failures, according to the USA Today/Gallup poll conducted a week after the tragedy.

That’s more than the 48 percent who have blamed other recent U.S. shootings on the same failure. Reports of accused shooter Jared Loughner’s personal life have detailed numerous warning signs that the 22-year-old may have had mental health issues.

Fifteen percent of Americans surveyed agreed that creating better mental health screenings and support could help prevent similar shooting incidents in the future. Only improving gun control laws (24 percent) received more support.

In the aftermath of the shootings, lawmakers have called for hearings on mental health issues.