End the Stigma: Bringing Truths of Mental Illness to Light

The topic of my persuasive essay and advocacy project is Mental illness and bringing awareness to this silent killer. The first part of my paper will cover the prevalence of mental illness and de-myth certain views that some people have, such as, everyone who has a mental illness is diagnosed; unfortunately only 36 percent of people with a mental illness receive treatment. I bring to light the truth that, the fact that many people with a mental illness are not diagnosed make the public think it isn’t as serious as a problem as it is.
Next, I will continue by discussing the media’s role in creating stigma against mental illness which most people–who do not have a mental illness–do not even notice. Not only does media in general create stigma, but some of the most watched, such as Disney movies, who create stigma in the brains of children. A 2004 study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that a total of 85% of Disney animated films contained references to characters with mental illness. Most of the characters referred to as mentally ill serve as objects of derision or amusement. This stigma that stems from the media places a barrier in front of any one who would talk about their mental illness, they feel uncomfortable talking about it and refrain from seeking out the help that they need, which then in turn can turn into suicide.
My next point will be about how even with our society’s strong desire to have complete equality, some groups are left out–in this case. For example here at Penn State there was a mental awareness October 21-25 2013, but not many people actually knew about it. I may also use other group of people to compare, such as African-Americans and LGBTA communities and how they were, and still are discriminated against and how I believe Equality should be increased for those who are mentally ill and to spread the awareness of the seriousness of the issue.
After that I will throw in a section about why I personally care for this issue, using the personal experience of my family and friends who have gone/are going through this. I hope this will increase the pathos in my essay. Also, I will emphasize that everyone should care to and restate the stats that one in four in their lifetime will go through a mental illness.
Lastly I will specifically state how people can help reduce the stigma and allow for a more open communication between those who have a metal illness and those around them. I will throw in some myths here that people have about those with mental illness and offer solutions, such as constructive ways to discuss mental illnesses with a friend or how to spot warning signs of a worsening of a mental illness. My goal here is to get people to realize mental illness is just that–an illness. Some people may view illnesses like depression as in their control, when it is not. I aim to get more people to understand that people with mental illnesses are not any less “normal” than everyone else, they are just ill, and that blaming someone does not help. The best way for anyone to be supportive to someone with a mental illness is to realize their illness is out of your control (unless you are a certified doctor), and the best and most helpful thing to do is to offer acceptance and support because most people with a mental disorder expect their friends to do the exact opposite and leave. When people who desperately need help are left feeling like this, it’s no wonder so many lives lost because of it. That is something we need to change.

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