The discrimination toward those with mental illness is a tragedy. To think that we are still in the midst of comedians joking about those with mental illness, being compared to criminals whenever the thought of mental illness is brought up, while also many saying that gun control is a must due to mental illness or perhaps better involuntary psychiatric hospitalization may be the solution to unimaginable crime within society. Absurd! This type of discrimination, stereotyping, stigma needs to stop. There has to be compassion and understanding for those that endure the mind altering chaos that depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and many other mental illnesses are to that individual. And that mental illness is just that – an illness. Perhaps better psychiatric healthcare and living with equality and tolerance would be a more appropriate solution?
The discrimination that those who live with psychiatric illnesses reminds me of those who have had the burden of being discriminated for being gay. On an episode of Oprah’s Master Class, the struggle for acceptance by one comedian, Ellen DeGeneres, who suffered heart breaking loss for coming out as a gay individual and stating that she is gay on her sitcom show caused such controversy that her career was immediately stopped and a new beginning years later needed to occur. This type of discrimination has to stop. And fortunately this was one of the major steps to increasing some sort of tolerance, though much work still needs to be done. It is when courage to be oneself is displayed that barriers to discrimination can be fought to be eliminated. The intolerance within society just for living as an openly gay person has been a hard and brave fight for justice and respect. This fight is similar to the mental illness stigma and breaking the walls of inequality.
When mental illness controls, how the mind torments and twists is like a cancer living within. There is nothing remotely funny about how living with this illness can be. I recently watched a popular television comedy about the fact that people can and do need psychiatric hospitalization. Sure, this was all in fun for Halloween with the Mad or Crazy Psychiatric Hospital being the joke. However there once was a time when Psychiatric Disorders were evil and so completely misunderstood that people lived images of these comedic imaginations. We have come forward in our thinking in small steps, yet much improvement still needs to be made. How sad is it that it is hilarious that people live with unimaginable torture of the mind and it is still being displayed as comedy?
Equality of healthcare for psychiatric disorders and a respect and justice with fairness and the dis-solution of stereotypical responses to mental illness would be an important step for abolishing this discrimination. A mental illness needs to be treated just as fairly as any other illness – with respect, and to even separate healthcare coverage relating to mental health issues seems unjust. A better acceptance and understanding is what the goal needs to be so that maybe those people who live with mental illness will no longer need to live in the closet.