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Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.

2 percent of the total adult


population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, such as depression, bipolar
disorder or schizophrenia. In contrast, only five million ankle injuries occur each year in the
United States. Thats less than 1% of Americans. Though many more Americans suffer from
mental illness than broken ankles, broken ankles are more accepted. No one ever gets blamed for
having a broken ankle, no one gets looked down upon because of a broken ankle. However the
stigma behind mental illness is so bad, its never talked about. the average person the mental
illness usually suffers ten years before being diagnosed. We need to change the stigma against
mental illness; we need to increase not only knowledge about mental illness but also acceptance.
We need to change the stigma against mental illness. People with mental illness are
dangerous and unpredictable. The first scene in Wonderland, a drama set in the psychiatric and
emergency room units of a New York City hospital, is a man,who suffers from schizophrenia,
going on a shooting spree in Times Square and later stabbing a pregnant physician in the
stomach. This is a stereotype about people with mental illness that most people believe. It is
reinforced on a daily basis by the news. Several studies have found that news coverage of people
with mental illness in the United States are far more likely to be about violence than news
coverage in other countries. However the reality is people with mental illness are more likely
than others to be victims of violence than to commit acts of violence .The truth is, most violent
crimes are committed by people who do not have mental health conditions. In fact, according to
data from a study conducted by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related
Conditions, only 3% of people with mental illness are violent. Despite the widely believed
stigma 97% of people with mental illness are not violent.
Media adds to the stigma by showing people with mental illness as slow or not able to
function. However, the truth is most famous figures had mental illness. Abraham Lincoln,
Beethoven, and Michelangelo all had mental illness and they all demonstrate that mental illness
does not equal incompetence Lincoln fought clinical depression for most of his life and he led
the country through one of the bloodiest war this country has seen. Beethoven suffered from
bipolar disorder. In fact many of his most celebrated works are believed to have been written
during his psychotic episodes. So while the media portrays mentally ill people as slow or
childlike, history has shown that this in fact isnt true.
People also believe that those with mental illness are to blame for their problems.
Research has shown life experiences, trauma, and biology are to blame for mental illness, not the
person with the diagnosis. New research suggest that mental illness can start before birth, or in
other words is genetically passed from generation to generation. Schizophrenia, is often a genetic
disorder and is often passed down from generation to generation. There are many different
reasons for mental illness including genetics (passed down from generation to generation),
biology (an individual chemical imbalance in the brain such as lack serotonin ), psychological
trauma (sexual and/or emotional abuse), and environmental stressors (A death of a loved one).
All of these are out of a persons control, therefore so is mental illness.
Its widely believed that people with mental illness can just will their symptoms away.
Those with major depression suffer from persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest. Those

with anxiety disorder suffer with the inability to set aside a worry, and restlessness. Those with
bipolar disorder suffer from manic episodes and Depressed episodes. Those with ADHD suffer
from limited attention and hyperactivity. These are real symptoms, just like a symptom of
cancer is loss of appetite. One cant just will away these symptoms, just like one cant will
away the pain of a broken ankle. These symptoms are just as detrimental as the symptoms of
someone with AIDS. Often times they have to be treated with medicine just like physical
diseases.
We need to change the stigma behind mental illness, and therefore make it easier for
those with mental illness. Most stereotypes are not true and have been proven to be false. People
with mental illness are never to be blamed for their illness. Mental illness has been a hidden
subject for too long, and by changing the stigma behind the mental illness we will make it easier
for those who suffer. I suffer from depression and I wasnt diagnosed until I was 14. I was lucky
that I had an accepting family who not only accepted my diagnosis but helps me daily with it.
Most people aren't so lucky.

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"Stereotypes about People with Mental Illness." Stereotypes about
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