Chapter 14 First Impression Post – Mental Illness

Mental illness is a very serious issue, particularly in America, where nearly half of the population endures some form of it. I decided to watch the video highlighting various hallucinations and delusions often seen in schizophrenic patients. Initially, the video was relatively peaceful and calm, with just about everything going right. Then, the delusions started to occur and the schizophrenic patient began to hear voices urging them not to do things like drink their coffee, take their medication, and opening doors.

I have never met anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia, but my sister’s mother in law has it, and I have heard stories of her psychotic episodes. I think it is interesting how little we see about schizophrenia in the media, especially because it is a very real illness. American culture tends to omit discussion about the more serious mental illnesses, and instead chooses to present certain illnesses in a romanticized way, as if depression or anxiety is some glamorous gift. I recall watching part of A Beautiful Mind in high school psychology, and it showed a few scary aspects of schizophrenia, but otherwise focused on the positive aspects such as the protagonists’ brilliance, which is associated with delusions of grandeur.

Schizophrenia seems to be something often pushed under the rug until it has some pertinence in mainstream media. Psychological thriller movies love to scare the audience by creating characters diagnosed with schizophrenia, but they often misrepresent the mental illness. Symptoms of schizophrenia range greatly from person-to-person, and most people with this illness do not have the same symptoms. The best way for our culture to gain a better understanding of schizophrenia is to push it to the forefront of society, and not only raise awareness, but increase acceptance. A simple Google search can inform anyone interested in learning about schizophrenia that the best way to help those in need is to be supportive and patient.

5 thoughts on “Chapter 14 First Impression Post – Mental Illness

  1. Hi Kaity,

    I thought it was interesting that you said fifty percent of America has some form of schizophrenia. To me, that number seems pretty high, especially since in my education experience, we barely touched on the subject. I do agree with you that we tend to romanticize mental illnesses on social media and in the public eye. I remember seeing many posts on social media that portrayed depression and self harming to being something that you want to do. I also find it hard to see the commercials on TV where they are advertising antidepressants and they just have an actor sitting around looking sad all the time, when in reality, that’s not necessarily what happens. I thought what you said about schizophrenia being pushed under the rug was interesting and it made me think of other influential movies that made people aware about a subject. For instance, when that Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, came on many people were talking about suicide, and schools were putting a bigger focus on the subject. This just shows how powerful the internet, and movies can be across the nation.

    When reading this chapter, I thought it was interesting to learn that although you don’t hear much about schizophrenia, it is one of the most heavily researched disorders. A lot of times when I watch a tv show about schizophrenia, they use the word salad symptom to portray it. I guess the jumbled sentences that don’t make any sense is an easy way to let the audience figure out that this is the disorder the character has, especially since it is hard to show the hallucinations like the Youtube video did.

    Thanks, for the read!

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  2. Hey Kaity,

    I agree we, as a society, have to do a better job dealing with mental illnesses. A major thing we need to address is the stigma which goes along with mental illnesses in general. I’m not sure, however, where you found nearly half of the US population has some form of mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 18.5% of Americans experience mental illness annually, about 1 out of every 5 people. They also state about 4% of the population experiences a serious mental illness, which is about 1 out of every 25 people. While the prevalence is high, it does not appear to be quite as high as you suggested.
    The portrayal of mental illness in the media is a big issue, as you stated. I agree the education system does not do enough about mental illnesses. In my opinion, high school health classes should be required to cover mental illnesses in much more detail than they are now. While they currently focus on important topics for teenagers to learn about, such as sex education and effects of drugs, they could certainly increase the attention they give to mental illnesses. If the young generations are learning more of the truth about mental illnesses, it will sculpt the future to have a better understanding which will help to remove the stigma of mental illness. At the end of the day, we, as a society, will continue to misunderstand mental illnesses until we implement a universal education of the topic to students who will be the ones molding the future.

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    1. The statistics you quoted are accurate, but those are point prevalences. That means it is how many people qualify for a mental illness at any given time. If you look at lifetime prevalences, how many people have ever qualified for a mental illness, the number is ~46%, so close to half.

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  3. Kaity,

    I also have never witnessed a schizophrenic episode or know anyone diagnosed. Yet I agree that it is something that is often pushed under the rug. I believe this is true due to the fact that a lot of people don’t understand the differences in mental health diagnoses. For instance we are quick to assume someone has a certain difference than us, yet if they have not been showing signs for at least 6 months or some time frame, then they are not fully diagnosed with the illness. Depression is romanticized in the media, as it tends to be in a lot of movies and shows. Yet I do also find it interesting that there is a lot of showing of people having bad episodes of schizophrenia. I agree that everyone is different and not everyone gets to the point where they are raged, and typically if they are that way its because someone tried to fight against their episode which makes it worse. Any form of information that can even just help people understand mental illnesses will help go a long way.
    thanks for the read!

    Thanks for the read!

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  4. Hello Kaity,

    I do agree that mental illnesses are not as present in the media as they are in real life. For most movies, mental illnesses are not addressed unless it has a negative role in the movie. People with mental illnesses are mostly presented as bad or violent people in movies and this is not the case for a lot of them. The medias ill portrayal has given people with mental illnesses a negative image in eye of the public. It would good to have more movies where characters with mental illnesses are portrayed correctly and or are not evil people that are out to kill everyone. This problem is especially bad because the younger generation get most of their information growing up from television. Movies like split are seen as scientifically accurate even though it does not even capture the essence of what dissociative Identity Disorder is. This is something that needs to change soon.

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