Mental Illness Discrimination.
Have you ever been surprised to find out a loved one is mentally ill? Mentally ill people are found almost anywhere in North America among many other countries. In some of Canada’s cities, you can see panhandlers who haven’t bathed in a month or people who are having conversations with themselves or others who are extremely inappropriate. Although there has been progress in the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill, stereotypes, mistreatment and misunderstanding continue to plague this aspect of our population, with too many individuals continue to be placed in jails or institutionalized.
Past Thoughts On Mental Illness There was many forms of punishment forces on mentally ill people because it was better for society. Doctors had the presumption that people with mental illness should be locked away until they are fixed. Some lash out not because they choose to, but because they either do not know any better or need psychological help. Schwartz stated that for years, courts have treated the mentally ill with the same dispassion accorded any other defendant. The results have been devastating. More than twice as many people with mental illness live in prisons as in state mental hospitals.
Mental Illness Discrimination. Essay Example
When they are confined in tiny cells, their conditions often worsen, increasing their propensity to act out. (2008). In the early 1900’s, thousands of eugenic sterilizations were performed. Also, many mentally ill Americans were lobotomized in the 1950’s. Many of the surgery’s were never tested or proven to help of the mentally ill (Norrgard, 2008). Although we now have a better understanding the treatment of the mentally ill, there are still many misconceptions. Some more justifiable then others. 2 Fig 1. Cartoon. “Mental Illness”. n. d.
Justification For Stereotypes There are cases of mentally ill people having violent behaviour, but many factors could have affected that person. The Virginia Tech massacre occurred because a mentally disturbed gunman fell through the cracks in the mental health system (Earley, 2009). Perhaps if someone leant a helping hand or showed concern, some of these tragic events would have been avoided. If society reviewed information and studies on mental illness, they would learn that there can be many factors that contribute to the illness of an individual. 3
Cause And Understanding Of Mental Illness Mental illness has no single cause, but environment, genetics and social life play a huge factor. Mental illness is any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual’s normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioural functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, and mental disorder. (Mental Illness, n. d. ) In the past, parents were routinely blamed if their child developed a mental illness.
More recently, there has been increasing medical evidence that many of the major illnesses involve biochemical imbalances in the body (Mental Illness in the Family). The knowledge is helping to remove the burden of guilt and blame from the parents’ shoulders. It may not be known to many people, but “mental diseases will strike one in five Canadians at some point in their lives” (Wickens, 1998). In Canada, one may see people on the street that may be different, but the fact is that we know people that may be in the same position. Though it may be funny to some, using the term “crazy” can be extremely offensive to people with mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and severe depression – three of the most common mental illnesses – are no funnier than breast cancer or heart disease” (Earley, 2009). This realization came from years of learning and researching mental illness. 4 Fig 2. “Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety Disorders”. 2007. Present Research McKenzie stated that “research has shown that Assertive Community Treatment Teams help to reduce relapses and hospital admissions” (2005). These people help by going to homes, in the role of a care taker, and teach mentally ill people the basic skills to cope with a situation.
The do not see anything wrong with the mentally ill, and this is why they try to help them. They are trained to deal with tough, or potentially violent, situations that could occur with a mentally ill person. This is a completely different mindset from those who once thought the mentally ill should be locked away in “insane asylums” (Wickens, 1998). Today peoples have a greater understanding that many of the mentally ill are not dangerous to society, just misunderstood. 5 Conclusion Although there will always be stereotypes on mental illness, many of the misperceptions proven wrong in recent years (McKenzie, 2005).
There still will be myths, but maybe in time people will be able to understand and help these, slightly different, but completely normal people. Reshaping beliefs is not an easy task, but it is important to correct the misleading information about this issue. It can lead to intolerance and negatively impacts the lives of people with mental illness and our society as a whole. Learning about the facts about violence and mental illness is an important first step in building realistic attitudes about this issue.