Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

The Stigma of Mental Illness

This blog references the online article “My lying, smiling face” - The Daily Princetonian ( ).

Mental illness can be a lifetime thing. There are few quick fixes for those who truly suffer. People with mental illness still strive to maintain a life in the public arenas of academia and business. This struggle can lead to a decision between continuing to suffer and seeking help from the arenas in which the suffering individual is engaged.

There is a balancing act going on between being compassionate for those with mental health issues and assuring the safety of the public. The college, and I suspect some businesses, want access to medical records to make a judgment for the community. The fate of the individual is secondary.

This dance of the individual vs. the community has become especially precarious given the violent crimes carried out by mental ill people. Are they the norm? Of course not. Are they gruesome enough to cause organizations to scramble for safety? Yes.

The result is individuals hiding their conditions from others. The mentally ill suffer in silence because to speak up puts their lives, professional or academic, in peril. Organizations gladly provide help to the individual for a short time, hoping that the illness will go away, but doom upon the individual if their condition continues.

In the Princeton cases the students have to fight to return to school after they have left because of mental illness. Why? I can only guess “public safety”. I wouldn't want to test the tender mercies of the business world in these matters. Again, a trickle of help may be provided, but a red flag is set off if more is required. The possibility of public harm is compounded by a business' desire to watch out for itself. The greater society may be safer, but the individual is the loser.

Tags: mental illness, society, suffering

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