Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Stigma of Mental......

I keep hearing about reducing the stigma of mental illness. Then I see this article about government mental health facilities in the Grampians region of Victoria. Patients are being controlled with the overuse of drugs and physical restraints. How is that helping anyone? When we hear stuff like that, how can we NOT be scared of admitting we have mental illness? Mental illness is scary, but I think the TREATMENT for mental illness scares me more.

I know it's not all bad. There are mentally ill people....who are well taken care of. I'm sure. But there's enough scary stories out there to make me think that if I ever hear voices, I might be keeping that to myself.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll confess it on this blog.

I also think it's funny that people want mental illness to not have a stigma to it because it's an ILLNESS. Uh...well, correct me if I'm wrong. But don't people with nonmental illnesses get stigmatized too? How about those with Cancer? AIDS? Genetic diseases? Diabetes? I think a lot of times there's inner shame, and I do think there's often rejection from others.

With any illness or disease....I think people get uncomfortable. There's an idea the person brought it on themselves, that they're inherently defective, and contagious.

It would be nice if all this wasn't true. But people can be insensitive and that's that.

I think the mental health advocates should move AWAY from the whole illness thing. I think there'd be much less of a stigma, if we just called people WEIRD or freaks. How about mentally different? Emotionally challenged? Outrageously quirky? Or we could say something like Yeah. She's going through a really rough time right now. I think that sounds better than She's dealing with mental illness.