Mental Illness Awareness

Jillian Angeles & Amber Heavener


All people should be made aware of mental illnesses and its debilitating effect to the individual suffering from such illness.
"Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia."-

"Postpartum depression: One mom's mission becomes a movement"- CNN Wire, Kelly Wallace

A woman named Katherine Stone experienced serious postpartum depression, that lasted for years, after giving birth to her son. In the article, Stone believed that the treatment given to her created no change and desired to help prevent other women from feeling the way she did.

In result, Stone created a blog post called, Postpartum Progress, so that other women experiencing postpartum depression have the knowledge that they are not alone in the battle. "...she felt alone and somewhat angry. How could a fairly educated woman like herself not know anything about intrusive thoughts or how postpartum mental illness could include anxiety disorders?"

Treatment given to most women do not provide the comfort and information needed for their mental state. Stone had endured postpartum depression but the treatment given extended her suffering rather than discontinuing it. She was lost and often did not know what was happening to her.

"A history of treatment for mental illness"- The Washington Post, National Institutes of Health

The article expresses the history of mental illness treatments and how patients deserve the legal right to be able to decide how they are to get better.

Throughout the previous three centuries, patients who have been subject to mental illness have been denied the rights that they deserved. Mental illness was believed to be not as dangerous as cancer or other diseases. Therefore, "Huge state-run hospitals close, and the number of phychiatric inpatients decline rapidly."

Women with hysteria were visualized as a problem for men because they were thought of as just wanting the attention. They were presumed incapable of making decisions and were forced to endure the "rest cure." Decision of the treatment shifted between the doctor and the judge.

Mental illnesses are just as threatening and hazardous and people should become more aware and should treat it as they would of cancer or other diseases.

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"Girl Scouts Engage in the Fight Against Mental Illness Stigma with Mental Health Awareness Patch"- Mental Health Weekly Digest

The International Bipolar Foundation's mission is to erase stigma of mental illness through public education.

Girl Scouts nationwide received their Mental Health Awareness Patch to help accomplish this mission. They are to spread their knowledge of mental illnesses so that more people are aware.

"While mental illness is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer, unlike those diseases, mental illness carries a stigma that causes additional suffering and often is a barrier to treatment and support." The patch's purpose is to provide intellectual information and to dispose of this stigma.

Women with postpartum depression, in the 19th-20th century, were confined in a room and forced into the treatment of "rest cure." Therefore, women were not physically and mentally able to function normally at the rate desired. The barrier, as Muffy Walker, Board president of IBPF, had said was the forced treatment to these women.

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1. Statement: Depression should be considered lightly.

Response: Over 25 million Americans suffer from depression.

2. Statement: Women suffering from postpartum depression can only be cured by the "rest cure" and isolation from the world.

Response: In 1975, the Supreme Court decided "that the state cannot confine a 'non-dangerous individual' who is capable of surviving in freedom alone or with the help of others." There are alternate treatments for women suffering form postpartum depression such as group therapy, medication, and family support. The concept wavers when a person threatens to harm themselves or others or when the person is disabled and cannot care for themselves.

3. Statement: People do not need to be so aware of mental illness because it is not as serious and is a poor threat. Therefore, awareness of this disease is not necessary.

Response: Mental illnesses are very much as threatening and harmful as, say, diabetes or cancer. It is possible for the patient to harm themselves or others if not provided with the correct treatment. The public knowledge of these mental illnesses are important because more people and would seek immediate treatment. This would allow them to avoid the stigma or misconception of such sicknesses.