How Society Views Mental Illnesses


Thesis Statement

Even though hundreds of millions of people are affected by mental illnesses, there are still many negative stereotypes against those afflicted with them.

Articles' Positions

In the article "Girl Scouts Engage in the Fight Against Mental Illness Stigma with Mental Health Awareness Patch" from the Mental Health Weekly Digest, Girl Scouts prove that if people band together, it's possible for us to get rid of the stigma against mental illnesses.
  • the International Bipolar Foundation's mission is erasing the stigma of mental illness through public education
  • Girl Scouts in New York are doing well with raising awareness on the subject, and claim that it is proving successful

The Girl Scouts are working with IBPF to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and are raising awareness across the country. This shows that there are some parts of society that are trying to change the way people as a whole view mental illnesses.

The article "IU Study: 'Backbone' of mental illness stigma common in 16 countries studied" written by Mental Health Weekly Digest, shows that there is still a prejudice against people with mental illnesses today that portrays them as unable of doing certain things, like forming close personal relationships or being in positions of authority.

  • the stigma people have against those with mental illnesses can produce discrimination in many things, like employment and medical care
  • organizations are also working towards raising awareness and educating more and more people on mental illnesses so the stigma placed on them can disappear

Society still views people with mental illnesses as incapable of doing several things, like raising children, being married, or holding roles of authority or civic responsibility. The prejudices are causing discrimination, affecting the way those inflicted go about living their lives.

The article "Postpartum depression: One mom's mission becomes a movement" in CNN Wire, written by Kelly Wallace, Katherine Stone learns about her postpartum depression and helps educate many more mothers who were going through the same thing, and combats ignorance against the mental illness.

  • Stone's blog led to the creation of several nonprofit organizations that are pushing for more research on the illness
  • she has helped mother's realize that they aren't alone, and that there are other women who have gone through the same thing and have overcome it

Even one person can help start change the way society views mental illnesses; as things that make a person "unable", and as something incurable. There are also still many people that are uneducated on the subject, and the more people that spread awareness on it, the faster stereotypes will be broken.

The Opposition

  • "Mental illnesses aren't real; people just make them up to get attention."

That is one of the many negative stereotypes people with mental illnesses are labeled with. Mental illnesses are very real- as real as a bruised shin or a broken collarbone- and even if the illness doesn't seem real to you, it is very real to the person it's affecting.

  • "People with mental illnesses will be stuck with their disease forever."

People who are afflicted with such illnesses can be cured, or at the very least learn how to cope. The process may take a long while, but it can be done. Mental illnesses are like physical illnesses in a way: some can be treated and become a thing of the past, and then there are some that can never be completely healed, but it won't stop you from moving forward.

  • "People with mental illnesses are unable to contribute to society."

Sometimes people with mental illnesses are unable to contribute to society, which is fine, because there are plenty of people that aren't afflicted that can't contribute to society either. It's also more difficult for those with mental illnesses to contribute to society because people discriminate against them, so they can't find a way to support themselves or their family. They are just as capable of leading lives as anyone else, but the negative light in which society views them makes it hard for them to do so.