Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Stigma of Mental Illness and Schizophrenia…

I deal with this sort of thing with my family – this stigma.  Dad feels I am incapable of making medical decisions about my mental health.  He also feels I cannot handle money efficiently or responsibly due to my illness.  It was interesting to read the results of this study below as they so echoed my own experiences with stigma and mental illness.  Dad has often told me he is afraid of me when I get very mentally ill.  I had a 9mm Glock handgun that dad took away from me for fears I would shoot people or harm them in the throes of my mental illness.  I have never shown any violent tendencies when ill or well for that matter.  There is an estimated 1.4 million Americans with schizophrenia at any given time and it takes only one crazy person on a killing spree shown on the national news to instill fear in Americans about people with mental illness thus perpetuating this stigma.  The news media loves this kind of thing and should be ashamed at the harm they are doing to all the law abiding mentally ill citizens.  


Social stigma has been identified as a major obstacle in the recovery of patients with schizophrenia. In a large, representative sample from a 1999 study, 12.8% of Americans believed that individuals with schizophrenia were "very likely" to do something violent against others, and 48.1% said that they were "somewhat likely" to. Over 74% said that people with schizophrenia were either "not very able" or "not able at all" to make decisions concerning their treatment, and 70.2% said the same of money management decisions. The perception of individuals with psychosis as violent has more than doubled in prevalence since the 1950s, according to one meta-analysis.


Beth said...

Love all the tabs at the top with mental illness stuff, and the survey is indeed interesting. I think NAMI is working hard to help the perception of mental illness and its stigmas, but it will take a long time. Mental illness is not something you can SEE nor is treatment standardized. I think people are afraid that it could happen to THEM or a loved one. Your blog helps a lot to de-mystify it. And I'm glad you felt better as the day progressed.Remember: This, too, shall pass...both the bad and the good!

Summer said...

You're so creative with your blog template and links/tabs. It really looks nice.

Becoming a nurse de-mystified a lot of things for me, mental illness being one of them.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

I've been awol today and have just read all your posts!

Hate that you went through that attack last night. I wish there was a magic pill that would make it stop as quickly as it starts! Maggie is there to protect you!

I'm enjoying LaRoux more and more. Just glad I'm not the one having to try to make that hair stand up! Sure some interesting looking folks in that video!

Boy, don't ya wish George would figure out what you've learned! We can only hope and pray that it will get through to him before too long. We all know that it's got to be his decision.

The Stigma of Mental Illness - - You are 100% right. It does carry a very undeserved reputation with it and all you can do is try to educate the people that you can contact. However, you do have to admit that your dad has a point. There are times when you would spend every penny you could get your hands on to get beer or booze.

Another problem is that mental illness is not like a simple little cut. What helps one person may do nothing for the next. Each person has to have their own specific 'cocktail' of medications to help with the treatment. Some people cannot be helped nearly as well as you are. There are just so many variations that you just CAN'T put a label on anyone with mental problems. I would suggest that there is a much higher percentage of violent, scary folks among those who do NOT have a mental illness.

I think what frightens your dad is that he just honestly has no idea what to do when you have a really bad episode. I don't think YOU frighten him - I think the situation is what frightens him.

It's midnight - Happy Easter!!

Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring you a thunderstorm!

Love ya, Sweetie!

KLW said...

You have to be wary about surveys because they never tell you exactly what question was asked. They just tell you their spin of the results. There is always a spin and the questions are never as broadly stated as they seem in the result. Surveys are always commissioned to make a point and the questions are generally formulated in such a way to lead people to that point. Like "do you think people with mental illness are likely to do something violent" vs "if you were confronted with someone you knew to be mentally ill, and they were very agitated and acting oddly aggressive, would you fear that they might do something violent?"

That the perception of people with psychosis as violent has doubled in the past 60 years is probably a direct result of the rather inflammatory news media. Whereas one single case of violence used to stay within the local community, now thanks to the power of the internet we all get to read in excruciating detail of some poor soul who has lost it and gone over the edge. The actual numbers most likely have gone down but our awareness of the incidents has skyrocketed.