4 thoughts on “Mental Health Stigma – Mixed Signals

  • December 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I have been bi-polar my whole life, Iā€™m 59 now. I retired at age 56 from a company where I worked 35 years, I NEVER revealed to anyone(more below) that I had this condition. I worked my way up the ladder and attained a position that required a College Degree of which I had none. I traveled the world, I was productive to the nth degree-I NEVER would have accomplished this if I had let ANYONE know of my manic depression. Two days before my retirement day I told the HR person of my condition, and explained why I never told anyone-and that reason was if I had I would have been fired for even the smallest reason because society frowns on even the slightest imperfection. Actually my condition led me to be the classic overachieving person.

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  • December 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve been quite disturbed by the recent discussion in the United States about gun violence and mental illness. I am most disturbed by what seems to be an attempt to demonize all mentally ill people based on the action of one or two supposedly mentally ill people have been involved in shootings. For an example of the discussion, see:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/gun-mentally- ill_n_2346162.html

    This comment is not about gun control, per se, but about the stigma that is being heaped on mentally ill people by the debate about gun control. Why are mentally ill people assumed to be more violent than the rest of the population? Why are rights taken away from us who have no history of violence when rights are not taken away from known violent individuals, such as gangsters?

    Is it just me, or does this gun-control dialogue seem twisted and stigmatizing? Even the more moderate call for treatment of the mentally ill (as a presumed way to curb shootings) makes me wary. If individuals presumed to be potentially violent are forced into treatment, won’t we all be? After all, the tone of the debate is that every mentally ill person is dangerous and that there are sure-fire ways of treating them. In fact neither of these presumptions are true. I think we can only have a reasoned discussion about treatment after the stigma is reduced.

    Perhaps the treatment-related discussion that we can have now is about the fact that much less money is spent on mental illness than on physical illnesses in North America. Why are there so many barriers in accessing care for people who want to get help?

    What can we do to improve the situation? Do we stand against these stigmatizing viewpoints, or do we espouse them? Do we come out en mass as other invisible minorities have done? Do we try to explain to other people who we really are? Or do we remain silent?

    Is it time to stand up for ourselves and start a mental illness rights movement?

    With much pondering,
    BK

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  • April 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I myself recieve services from community mental health. I am post tramatic due to domestic violence. Now the ignorance I have experienced from others is intolerable. Now I consider myself to be a very well aware and quite smart. This is where I see stigmatism. When some apply for disablity it seems as if they overreact becuase they are afraid they wont be awarded. I mean do you really have to be dumb to be considered mentally disabled?

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  • April 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    And control. So now I cannot protect myself and my children. As if I dont know the difference between lethel and stopping power.

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