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The Stigmatized Inevitable

Autor:   •  October 9, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,659 Words (7 Pages)  •  107 Views

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The Stigmatized Inevitable

Sick, delusional, insane, psychotic, mad, demented, neurotic, paranoid, hypochondriac, idiotic, unbalanced, nuts, disturbed, anxious, disabled, freak, retard; all terms most would use to describe one that suffers from mental illness; all words with negative connotations; all dehumanizing terms. It occurs in “26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older, or one in four adults…this figure translates to 57.7 million people” (NIMH).  Today there is something at is all too common within these people, whom act completely normal, but are legitimately hurting greatly on the inside. This is mental illness. In pop culture today, mental illness is stigmatized in the media, and leads those suffering with mental illness to not be honest with themselves, leading them to create a façade out of fear that others will not identify with them. The degradation of individuals with mental illness is all too popular within the non-ill population in America’s pop culture as well as worldwide.

        Mental illness is like any other disease or sickness but it influences the way a person thinks, behaves, and overall feels. There are many different types of mental illnesses that can be mild to severe. The sickness can come on from what is known as environmental stressors, which means it can be triggered from life changes such as divorce, family traumas, substance abuse, and all around stress.  Psychological trauma is also a common trigger for mental illness, which comes from abuse such as sexual, mental, physical, etc. Chemical unbalances in the brain are also a cause for mental illness, including birth defects, and the genetics of the patients. The public today is uneducated about how mental illnesses develop, and because of this it leads to those who are suffering to hold in their pain and not seek help because many will not understand what they feel.

The stigma of a mental illness manifests itself “Eradicating the stigma and social distancing of people with mental illness must be a top public health priority in order to improve worldwide mental health and reduce economic burden” (Friedman). Mental illness is deemed disgraceful to the victim and the victim’s family because of these negative connotations related to mental illness. The victim puts on this façade in order to not cause a burden to their loved ones and their loved ones distance themselves. This social distancing and disrespect of those suffering from mental illness is depicted in many popular movies today, such as “The Shining” and “Hannibal Ector,” which portrays serial killers doing vulgar, mutilating things to the people they kill and torture, because the killers are defined as “mentally ill.”  These movies often influence the public to think and act a certain way as shown in the movies towards the sick individual. All of these movies repeatedly lead to the shameful stigmatization and self-stigmatization of the mentally ill. Popular movies portray those with the illness usually as a character whom is often dangerous, a serial killer, someone violent and scary; without thinking about how this depicts stereotypes against families who deal with mental illness, or even the patient. One may make the argument that there are some movies that do make the public body aware of mental illness and does not portray them in an evil manner, but most horror movies show the mentally ill as severely disturbed, heinous criminals who are on the loose like wild animals, or locked up in a jail cell or mental asylum wearing a straight jacket. These horrifying movies are partly the reason why the mentally ill have a hateful audience and feel shameful of their disease; therefore it is a hushed issue as families will not speak up about their family member suffering and the individual won’t speak up as well.


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