Over the past year, there have been numerous debates about mental illness in this country. Unfortunately, most of the discussion has surrounded incidents like mass shootings and gun control. Mental health has also been in the news as studies reveal that an increasing number of people in US jails and prisons have a mental illness. Because of this portrayal in the media, it is not surprising that the general public has such a misunderstanding and obvious negative bias of the spectrum of mental health conditions and their effect on society.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines mental illness as a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. This includes anything from depression and anxiety to autism spectrum disorders to schizophrenia to addiction. According to NAMI, 1 in 4 US adults experience mental illness in a given year and 1 in 17 adults suffer from a serious mental illness (e.g. major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.). With numbers this high, it is difficult to see mental illness portrayed solely in tandem with violence in the media when there are millions of people working and contributing to society daily with their illness properly treated. Although the high incidence of mental illness has been recognized by a federal requirement for insurance companies to cover mental health treatment, it has not improved the public perception of mental illness. Continue reading “A Closer Look at Mental Illness”