How To: Avoid Mental Illness Discrimination Have you ever been surprised to find out a loved one is mentally ill? Mentally ill people are found almost anywhere in North America among many other countries. In some of Canada's cities, you can see panhandlers who haven't bathed in a month or people who are having conversations with themselves or others who are extremely inappropriate. Although there has been progress in the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill, stereotypes, mistreatment and misunderstanding continue to plague this aspect of our population, with too many individuals continue to be placed in jails or institutionalized. Past Thoughts On Mental Illness There was many forms of punishment forces on mentally ill people because it was better for society. Doctors had the presumption that people with mental illness should be locked away until they are fixed. Some lash out not because they choose to, but because they either do not know any better or need psychological help. Schwartz stated that for years, courts have treated the mentally ill with the same dispassion accorded any other defendant. The results have been devastating. More than twice as many people with mental illness live in prisons as in state mental hospitals. When they are confined in tiny cells, their conditions often worsen, increasing their propensity to act out. (2008).
In the early 1900's, thousands of eugenic sterilizations were performed. Also, many mentally ill Americans were lobotomized in the 1950's. Many of the surgery's were never tested or proven to help of the mentally ill (Norrgard, 2008). Although we now have a better understanding the treatment of the mentally ill, there are still many misconceptions. Some more justifiable then others. 2
Fig 1. Cartoon. "Mental Illness". n.d. Justification For Stereotypes There are cases of mentally ill people having violent behaviour, but many factors could have affected that person. The Virginia Tech massacre occurred because a...
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