Mental Illness And Its Effects On Society Essay

745 Words 3 Pages
Imagine an illness that affects one fourth of our country. This disease causes a variety of symptoms that can last for years without ceasing and can affect people of all ages. Now imagine how our society would react to this plague. You’d think that there would be mass panic and an abundance of time and funds dedicated to researching a cure, right?
Unfortunately, this response is far from reality when it comes to mental illnesses. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness one in four Americans experience symptoms of a mental illness at some point during the year. Despite this high prevalence in our society, less than half of the adults affected by a mental illness ever seek treatment. UCLA psychiatrist and medical anthropologist Elizabeth Bromley links this phenomenon to the severe stigmas associated with mental illness that prevent people from seeking treatment. We view people with mental illness as weak or crazy, and David Whalen from the Canadian Mental Health Association says that these stigmas dissuade patients from seeking treatment because they fear becoming “social pariahs”. In order to increase the number of people who receive treatment, we must first eliminate stigmas.
The stigmas surrounding mental health in our culture commonly stem from the belief that mental illnesses aren’t actual illnesses. This assumption makes it is easy to come to the conclusion that mental illnesses are the result of lazy or attention seeking individuals. If this were true it…

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