Mental Health as a Paradigm Shift

In our world today, many people know someone who suffers from some type of mental illness, sometimes whether they actually know it or not. Almost one fifth of the American population suffers from some type of mental illness. For many people, the idea that this exists at such an extremely high level is shocking and obscure. Why? it’s because it’s not quite getting talked about as much as it needs to.

Our attitudes towards people with mental illnesses, treatments, and even media representation with mental health has severely changed over the years. And while this shift from almost completely taboo to more legitimate attention being received proves hope for the future where there is proper care for those with mental disorders and illnesses, there is still quite a long way to go.

  1. People with mental illness used to be looked at as threats to society or simply just deplorable. They were either expunged by being placed in jails or inhumane mental institutions where they were relaly just left to suffer and die, or they had to face extreme treatments such as lobotomies or shock therapy; these treatments did little to help. As psychology and neuroscience grew, and our understanding of mental illnesses increased, people gained a greater knowledge of what was going on. Simpler treatments such as counseling and psychotherapy began to be used, although societies still had somewhat of a disconnection to people who suffered as being human, and yet they were still viewed as debilitated. Now, precise treatments as well as counseling and medication are used to treat patients who suffer from a wide range of mental illnesses. And while it’s great that it’s being talked about more, there are still many stigmas attached to mental illnesses.
  2. Kind of already mentioned but this part will look at how the attitudes have changed over the years. From crazy and threatening to harmful and helpless to then being overdramatized or under appreciated. There will tend to be less job possibilities or social connection or ties for people with mental illnesses. Where now, more and more it is “acceptable” to have some mental illness and does not always have to be shushed or put down by anyone.
  3. How mental illness in the media has changed. Movies and TV shows which included people with mental illness used to be centered around that of violence or psychotic and wild behavior. This attribute of mental illness though true, is only a very very small percentage of people with mental illness. It only heightens this stigma of why people with mental illness should be feared. Now, not only are characters with mental illnesses/ disorders being represented more accurately and less viciously, many celebrities are also speaking out about their battles with certain mental illnesses and are allowing the topic to actually be talked about in proactive ways.
  4. Then, I will talk about governments approach to mental health and similar to how people used to just be locked up, there have been improvements to government efforts to help people with mental health such as the affordable care act. However, we seem to be degenerating in that sense where people may have less access to proper care.

Conclude how the views of mental health and people with mental illnesses have changed, and while yes some of it is for the better, there is still an awfully long way to go. Mental health shall not ever go ignored or mistreated.

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