When you hear the word “psychiatric hospital,”what do you think of? Do you think of a place for insane people who pose a danger to themselves and everyone around them?
Removing stigma of ‘mental illness’
By Kevin Doerzman, firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013
When you hear the word “psychiatric hospital,”what do you think of? Do you think of a place for
insane people who pose a danger to themselves and everyone around them? I’ve been to one, and it’s
anything but that. It’s a place to get the necessary help in time of crisis. When I share that with people
I’ve become comfortable with, they get the same solemn expression on they face and the same hollow
tone in their voice. It’s come to my attention in psychology classes that often a stigma is attached to
those who have been diagnosed and treated for mental illnesses — for example, mood disorders such
as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and
a whole slue of other mental illnesses.
The term “mental illness”has negative connotation in itself. It almost sounds like someone doesn’t
have the mental capacity or intelligence to be able to function properly in a social world. When the
American Psychiatric Association first published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, many of the terms used in the book were negative or derogatory. For example,
contemporary versions of the manual have IQ scales that determine mental retardation. Before the
second edition, more pejorative terms such as “morons,” “imbeciles,” and “idiots” were used to
identify mental retardation. Yet most diagnosed with a type of mental retardation are capable of taking
care of themselves and being economically independent.
Mental illnesses can also cause issues in the workplace. According to the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development, those diagnosed with a mental illness are two to three times more
likely to be unemployed. In popular belief, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and
others are thought to be more dangerous than they really are. With proper behavioral therapy and
medication, those diagnosed with mood disorders can function to the same level as those not
diagnosed. The dangers of mental illness are sometimes blown far out of proportion. Someone can be
tacked with a mood disorder or some other mental illness only because they show minor symptoms.
It’s normal for everyone to be sad, nervous, or angry every once in awhile. It doesn’t necessarily mean
they’re suicidal or psychotic.