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The Problem of Ignorance About Mental Illness

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Words: 1188 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Words: 1188|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Dissociative Identity Disorder, known as DID is a condition that forms due to traumatic situations in early childhood that force the sufferer to dissociate themselves from the events they are experiencing. People that experience this condition have separate identities that form within themselves all with different names, traits, and mannerisms. Earlier this year I watched a movie titled Split. The film follows a man with 24 different personalities who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls in an isolated underground facility. Now to the majority of the population, this movie would seem like harmless, captivating entertainment. Unfortunately, I and so many others fell into this trap of believing that this portrayal of a mental illness was accurate. Thinking back now I’m horrified to admit that I believed the stigmatizing misconceptions evident throughout this movie, that people with this disorder are violent, dangerous, and highly unpredictable. However, this issue stretches far further than a single misrepresentation of a mental illness. Mental illness is an issue that is so widespread in today’s society and has many issues surrounding it such as the unjust treatment of those suffering including the misrepresentation of mental illness and the ignorance of its existence.

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Now before I go any further I’d like to take a step back and explain what mental illnesses actually are. Mental illnesses are conditions which causes serious disorder in a person's behavior or thinking. In short, someone who suffers from a mental illness will not function mentally or behaviourally the same way that the average person does. Mental illness is a massive issue facing today’s society with one in four people affected by mental disorders. With this statistic only expected to rise it’s ignorant to not acknowledge how widespread this issue is and deal with it accordingly. However, resentment, ignorance, and fear still surround the topic of mental illness and those struggling with it. Many different viewpoints exist stretching from denial of mental health conditions to those that strongly advocate for the recognition, destigmatization, and alternative treatment of mental illness. Public opinion, sometimes even believed by those struggling with mental illness themselves is that these people are violent, dangerous, and highly unpredictable. When analyzed in the past it has been discovered that five main attitudes surround mental illness. This includes: authoritarianism - the opinion that people with a mental illness cannot be held accountable for their acts and they should be controlled by society; benevolence - an attitude that could be placed between tolerance and pity or compassion: mental hygiene ideology - the opinion that mental illness is similar to other illnesses and it should be treated adequately by specialists; social restrictiveness - the opinion that mentally ill persons should be restricted in some social domains; and interpersonal etiology - the belief that the real cause of a mental illness is the problematic interpersonal relations.

The stigmatization and ignorance of mental illness is currently not a millennium development goal in itself. However, it relates to goal one: extreme poverty and hunger, goal four: reducing child mortality, and goal five: improving maternal health. As stressful life experiences such as exposure to violence and poor physical health are more likely to be experienced by those with low socioeconomic status, it’s obvious that those that are in poverty may also be affected by mental illness which can be caused by violence and poor physical health. Additionally, those that have existing mental illnesses may fall into a state of poverty if they are unable to maintain a job due to their illness. Depression in mothers, which is related to poor maternal health, is associated with increased child mortality. This links mental illnesses in mothers to not only goal five but additionally goal four. The stigmatization and denial of mental illness prevent these issues from being dealt with accordingly and can often place these already struggling people in a more difficult situation as they feel as if their situation is not recognized. This leads to the never-ending cycle of the perpetuation of the stigmatization of mental illnesses. In the future, it is important to consider the stigmatization and ignorance of mental illness as a separate Millenium development goal.

Ending the stigmatization and denial of mental illness will help those affected by mental illness by helping them live a relatively normal life without the worry of judgment or prejudice.

The Catholic Social Teaching, the dignity of the human person enforces that all human life is sacred because it is grounded in the structural idea that all people are made in the image of God. This demonstrates that everyone should be treated with kindness and respect, despite mental illness due to their creation in the image of God. People struggling from mental illness should be able to live as normally as possible without the fear of judgment or hatred that comes from their conditions. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen, but we as a society should strive for this CST to become a reality.

Similarly, the second Catholic Social Teaching, community, and the common good says that the human being is social as well as sacred, and human dignity and rights occur in relationships with others in the community. The way we organize our society should be in conjunction with the well-being of all people. This includes giving people that are suffering from mental illnesses the help they need to function in society and collectively understanding their needs.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m only one person, what can I do to help? Well, there are a few simple things we can all do to help those suffering from mental illness and end the stigmatization surrounding it. Firstly by following Jesus’ teachings saying that “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. This involves treating others with respect, being considerate of their emotions, and attempting to understand their situation. Additionally, it is important to not spread misinformation regarding mental illness as this can be very damaging to those suffering from it. Being willing to listen to those that are suffering is important as well as seeking help for people that you suspect may be suffering from a mental illness.

As a society, we need to first end the stigmatization by talking about mental illness and giving accurate representations of it in the media. Later programs more programs can be implemented to help those suffering and give them many avenues through that they can seek help from. The easy implementation of these simple methods will help those affected by mental illness by ending the stigmatization and denial of mental illness and providing them will help in living a relatively normal life.

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In conclusion, mental illness is an issue that is so widespread in today’s society and has many issues surrounding it such as the unjust treatment of those suffering including the misrepresentation of mental illness and the ignorance of its existence. We as a society and as individuals should strive to end the stigmatization of mental illness by following the Catholic Social Teachings and raising awareness of the mental illness. Mental illness is an unavoidable part of our current society, so we need to welcome those suffering with open arms, nurturing and caring for them as Jesus has done for us. 

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Alex Wood

Cite this Essay

The Problem of Ignorance About Mental Illness. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-problem-of-ignorance-about-mental-illness/
“The Problem of Ignorance About Mental Illness.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-problem-of-ignorance-about-mental-illness/
The Problem of Ignorance About Mental Illness. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-problem-of-ignorance-about-mental-illness/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Problem of Ignorance About Mental Illness [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-problem-of-ignorance-about-mental-illness/
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