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Flowers left for Martha Ryan
"Stigma and Mental Illness"Mental illness knows no age limits, economic status,creed,color or race. It can strike anyone. Our brain, like any other organ, is vulnerable to disease. Doctors continue to solve some of the mysteries of the brain, but many of its functions remain a puzzle. It has been discovered that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and there have been many advancements in the treatment of these illnesses.Since many people with mental illnesses suffer from behavioral symptoms, they are often thought of differently than those with a physical illness. Instead of compassion and support, many people with mental illnesses are greeted by unsympathetic, unfair or hostile responses. This intolerance is due to the stigma that accompanies mental illness. Society often perceives people with a mental illness as strange, scary, or even dangerous. The media is responsible for much of the misconceptions regarding people who are mentally ill. Television and newspapers stress a history of mental illness in the backgrounds of people who commit violent crimes. Comedians use the disabilities of people with a mental illness as a source of humor. Advertisements use stigmatizing images as promotional gimmicks in order to sell products. Movies use mental illnesses to sensationalize plots. The most common, and often the most hurtful form of abuse of the mentally ill are people's perception and the things they say. Most people think they are being helpful, but their words are hurtful none the less. Thoughtless sayings can wound, fester and scar the minds of people with mental illnesses. Too often people can't forget that one has a mental illness, even if they're doing well. In their mind the mentally ill will always be sick. Anyone can develop a mental illness at anytime. The sad thing is that if they were to develop cancer or any other "physical illness" for example the acceptance would be there. To stigmatize the mentally ill is ignorant. You can help reduce the stigma by treating people with who have a mental illness as individuals. Learn about the person, and deal with them based on knowledge, not assumptions. Challenge false statements about mental illness. Many people have wrong and damaging ideas about the subject. Accurate information could change ideas and actions. Do what you can to help the mentally ill re-enter society by giving them what they need, a chance. It is indeed possible for a person who has a mental illness to graduate from high school and even college. To live a fairly "normal" life. Keep in mind the real "sick" one from what I remember growing up may very well not even be the person who's "sick". The majority of criminals and batterers don't even have a mental illness.
- Peter
 Added: Jul. 19, 2011

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