W2 Mental Illness and You

Mental illness remains a mystery to many people, especially people whom want hard facts, numbers, and data. The tricky thing about the mind is that it is not always that simple. Many diagnoses come from listening to people’s symptoms and observing behavior. Therefore, America is a standing contradiction. On the one hand, many people in America do not view mental illness, especially depression, to be a real disease. The term “mental health day” is used more as a joke than anything else, and when someone claims depression as a reason for their  differing behavior, many will roll their eyes. However, doctors will prescribe depression medicine as readily as any other antibiotic. One in ten Americans will take an anti-depressant at some point in their lives (Rabin).

However, there are more specific elements to consider. Beyond the country one is located in, there are many external factors influencing how someone may view mental illness. For example, one’s family and/or family history could be a factor. Some families have a history of mental illness. This may have the family feel sensitive towards mental health issues or perhaps exploitative of one’s problems. Some families are too eager to treat depression with medication. But more serious mental illnesses, such a schizophrenia or MPD must be treated with intense psychotherapy and medication. This may not be understandable to a family that has never had to deal with mental illness. Families without experience may wonder why a person cannot simply “get over” these mental hurdles, unable to understand that it is not a matter of willpower.

While some would view a mental illness as something to be embarrassed of; others understand that mental illness is lacking awareness and that this problem could diminish with afflicted people speaking out. Those who feel embarrassed of  their mental illness may feel that something is wrong with them, and not see their illness as an illness. Others may feel that they are sick just as one may be sick with the flu.

Religion is also an influencing factor. While some religions believe we are all made in God’s image, others believe in existence is a flawed state and the only state we will ever be in. So, while some believe mental afflictions are non-existent or perhaps just a mental state one can be talked down from. Other religions allow for a person to accept that mental illness can be biological, hereditary, and incurable. While those whom are more religious tend to stray from the belief that it cannot be avoided or cured.


Rabin, Roni Caryn. “A Glut of Antidepressants.” A Glut of Anti-Depressants. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/a-glut-of-antidepressants/?_r=0.

5 thoughts on “W2 Mental Illness and You

  1. I believe one of the largest problems in modern times when it comes to mental illness is the underdiagnoses of them because of the stigmas associated with mental illness. A good example is depression, many cases of depression remain undiagnosed and underreported because of the stigmas or the viewpoints societies have on diseases. In your essay, you pointed out a family history, society’s viewpoint, and religion could all be factors that go into this problem. I would divide the onset of mental diseases into two factors. One would be biological (family history) and the other would be environment (social causes). However, as to how management and inevitable prognosis of mental health goes, I would say that’s almost entirely made up of sociological factors. In this case, I think it can really all boil down to how society views the mental health condition. On one hand, the approach of the physician matters a lot. If the physician is using a biomedical approach only he will see the mental health issue as completely of biological, he may be the type of person to over prescribe anti-depressants. While one using a more sociological approach would probably try multiple therapies. Furthermore, the view of society on mental health can affect people’s willingness to go out and see aid for the condition. As you pointed out, the stigmas on mental health will stop people from ever seeking help in the first place severely limiting their treatment options.

  2. Hey, Hayley! Really enjoyed reading your post.
    I totally agree with your first statement. I took psychology last semester and we studies mental illnesses. Many mental illnesses do not have solid data and it frustrates many people. It angers me when people do not view depression an acceptable disease because it does have a lot to do with the imbalance of chemical in the brain. I honestly thought more than ten percent of Americas would end up taking antidepressants during their lifetime. That seems like a very small number and it was a surprising fact. The second sentence in the second paragraph, I feel, is very true. Some people feel mental illness as a violent and horrible thing but others think that it is just a normal sickness. Families that do not feel that it is important to treat mental illness with medication are actually hurting there family members and it is very sad to see people go through that. In the reading, religion did play a big roll in foreshadowing how a specific family would act if one were diagnosed with a mental illness. The reading talked about a city in Africa, which was mostly populated with followers of Islam. This effected their way of thinking about mental illness.

  3. Hey Hayley!
    Wow, I did not know that one in every ten Americans will take anti depressants at some point in their life. I think we have a huge problem with people kind of diagnosing themselves when they have poor knowledge about a condition. I have people close to me that I know are guilty of this. How many people say they have OCD? Obsessive compulsive disorder is a good example of a serious disease many people claim to have without truly being diagnosed. I wonder how easy it is for people to obtain medication they actually do not need! It’s a scary thought.
    I think that’s an interesting point about some religions believing a person can be “talked down” from a mental illness. I think that’s a ludicrous idea! If someone is truly has an issue with their brain I wonder what affects just conversing with them would have. When someone truly has a mental disorder, I believe their brain is structured differently than a person who does not have an illness. The problem boils down to who diagnoses what as a mental disease and how do they go about caring for a person who is diagnosed. This varies across the entire globe, which is part of what makes us unique. I hope that one day we as a human race, understand mental illness collectively and can diagnose and treat everyone with ease.

  4. Hey Hayley! I really enjoyed your post and I agree with everything you had states. I don’t think mental illness it taken serious enough, especially in the U.S. A lot of times people are insensitive when others claim they have some type of mental disease, I know personally I have done this to people. For me, especially when I was younger, it was just hard to believe they had an actual disease, because I couldn’t see anything physically wrong with them. I think this is the way it is for a lot of people. With that being said, I still do believe some people can abuse the “power” of having a metal illness. Blaming it for a behavior change, or their lack of effort, when in reality, the culprit can simply just be laziness. I am obviously not saying this is always the case, but I have seen several times when mental illness as an excuse has been abused. I also believe doctors are sometimes too quick to diagnose a patient with a type of mental illness. A drug can often times be a quick fix for sometime of mental disorder, but all too often people are mis diagnosed and don’t take into the account the long term affects that the drugs they are using can have.
    I also agree with the point you made about religion, that someone could be talked down from a disease. I think in these specific cases this is when a person is misdiagnosed if this “talking down” method actually works. If it were an actual mental disease, it would take a lot more than just talking down to cure this.
    Great post!

  5. Hi Hayley,
    I appreciated the introduction of your post. In our country, mental illnesses of all kinds are laughed at, perceived to be fake or invalid. I’m sure by now almost everyone knows someone who has struggled with depression or another such illness, and have heard friends of their say they need to “Get over it,” or “Cheer up,” as if it were such a simple thing to do. That, combined with the statistic you shared about 1 in 10 people utilizing an anti-depressant of one form or another paints a contrasting picture of the states.
    I also enjoy your point on the impact ones religion can have on their handling of their mental illness. The differing explanatory models between religions is quite interesting. From something like Christian scientist who don’t allow the use of modern medicine, to the average religious person who, in my experience, believes that their God had a plan and will still seek medical treatment for their ailments. I’ve read in other classes that religion can help people seek comfort while dealing with their illnesses, and it’s interesting to see the contrasting beliefs that people can have.
    Overall, I like the emphasis you placed on the more specific examples of explanatory models that most people seemed not to do. Sometimes people get lost in the big picture that they don’t understand more nuanced situations.

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