Anthropology - Mental Illness

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Mental Illness: Silencing the Stigma

What I knew about mental illness before this project was very limited. I mean besides the T.V. shows that portray a bleak life for people with mental illness. Images of individuals with mental illness aren’t always so in your face. Subtle stereotypes pervade the media regularly. I had minimal knowledge as to what types of mental illness there were. All I knew was that there were general perceptions about these people. Just the other day before the presentations, I saw this program on television with a mentally ill (schizophrenia) person locked up in isolation. It depicted on the person’s mental stated being very poor as if she was about to kill someone and was very violent. Whether it’s a graphic depiction or an insinuating remark, the media often paint a grim and inaccurate picture.

What I learned from this project is very helpful to me as to how I will interpret people having any psychological disorders. I became aware of the social stigmas, the lies and truths behind it, and the facts that support each topic of illnesses. Each time I came around to watch my classmates’ presentation boards, I learn something new about mental illness. I know now that one in four people will be affected by mental illness, whether it’s their own personal struggle or that of a family member. I know now that there are many treatment options. For example, I learned that schizophrenia affects more than 2.2 million people in the United States and 28% of those people live independently. Finally, we have learned that persons with serious mental illness, like all other people, find themselves affected by a number of influences when trying to find and keep meaningful employment. Some of these influences are in their control, but many are not.

The answer to those influences may not be the same for most people but it can be confirmed by an actual person living with a mental disorder, for that I recall our trip to CAMH. CAMH is the acronym...
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