Mental Illnesses

Argumentative Essay

Our Thesis:

People suffering from mental illnesses are misunderstood and treated immorally; the ignorant need to be informed on these mental illnesses so they know how to appropriately handle these situations.


Since the 19th century, people suffering from mental illnesses "are presumed incapable of making decisions, and inpatient hospitalization is assumed to be beneficial" (The Washington Post), and by the 1950s, "slightly more than a half a million psychiatric patients resided in overcrowded and underfunded state mental hospitals, often under appalling conditions" (The New York Times). As you can clearly see, society treats victims of mental illnesses with complete unfairness, and judge them as unable to live normal lives. If people were informed more about these illnesses, the unfair treatment would decease and the sufferers of mental illnesses would be more understood.

Acknowledge the Opposition

What are some things the opposer would say to our thesis?

  • "People with mental illnesses are incapable to take care of themselves and live a normal life." This is not necessarily true. Not all mental illnesses affect people to the point where they can't function normally. For example, "as many as one in seven women in the United States, or nearly 15% of new moms, is believed to suffer from some form of mental illness during or after pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists" (CNN Wire). So many women suffer from this mental illness, but they still can take care of their own children. Not all mental illnesses prevent people from normal lives.
  • "People suffering from mental illnesses are treated fairly and have always been." This certainly isn't true. In fact, the treatment for the mentally ill used to be horrid. They were abused in disgusting and unsanitary asylums for years. Society, today, has preconceived notions of victims, and judges them without knowing the truth.
  • "There is no point in informing society about mental illnesses. It is a waste of time." If the world does not want to respect a person's basic rights, then they need to be informed on the truth. It is not a waste of time to change someone's poor judgement. In addition, you or someone may know might be suffering from a mental illness. Finding out the symptoms and what to do from there will get people the help that they need.


  • In "A History of Treatment for Mental Illness" by The Washington Post, the article focuses on how victims of mental illnesses were treated from the 19th century to the 20th. We would use quotes on the poor treatment victims have faced over the years in our essay.
  • In "A Solution that Now Looks Crazy" by The New York Times, the article discusses a book by Dr. E Fuller Torrey about how sufferers of mental illnesses were deinstitutionalized. We would use quotes about the appalling truths of mental hospitals in our essay.
  • In "Postpartum Depression: One Mom's Mission Becomes a Movement" by CNN Wire, the article informs readers on the truth of Postpartum depression. We would use quotes on how common this illness is in our essay.
  • In "IU Study: 'Backbone' of Mental Illness Stigma Common in 16 Countries Studied" by the Mental Health Weekly Digest, the article discusses the prejudice society has for people with mental illnesses. We would use quotes on the prejudice, stigma, and stereotypes in our essay.


  • "A History of Treatment for Mental Ilness" - The Washington Post.
  • "A Solution that Now Looks Crazy" - The New York Times, by Richard A. Friedman
  • "Postpartum Depression: One Mom's Mission Becomes a Movement" - CNN Wire, by Kelly Wallace