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Learn The Dark Story Behind America’s Approach To Mental
Mental Illness is a condition which affects the thinking, mood or feeling of a person. It
is common in Teenagers. It differs from depressive feelings to overwhelming
paranoid thoughts. But despite this fact – mental illness is a type of disorder or we
can say a disease - that requires proper medical treatment. In America, mentally ill
People are released from hospitals and many of them are in prisons.
It all started in the 1970, when condition of mentally ill people in US became worse,
which resulted in suffering for patients, terror for family and the financial burden.
Schizophrenia is also a type of mental disorder which is caused by genetic and
environmental factors. It radically alters the brain of an individual and diminishes his/
her ability to function with the society. Schizophrenia exists in an individual from
birth, but it’s symptoms can only be seen when the effected individual reaches his/
her adolescence because this is the time when brain begins pruning cells.
When the genes involved in Schizophrenia are activated either by stressful
environment or due to marijuana abuse – the affected individual enters into the
prodromal phase of Schizophrenia. This phase leads to psychotic breakdown, which
may manifest in a number of ways. Due to this, it grabs the attention of family and
friends and the affected person aware about the existence of this disorder.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia can only be seen when the affected individual becomes
a teenager, because a young mind begins facing stress for the first time, whether it
be related with school or about his/her first break-up.
Mental illness has been de-legitimized and denied,
resulting in horrific suffering for patients.
In 1960, a prominent psychiatrist Thomas Szasz found that treatment of mental
illness is inhumane and authoritarian. And set out to prevent others from interfering
in the lives of those with mental illness.
In 1961, He published a book “The Myth Of Mental Illness” in which he claimed that
mental illness cannot be regarded as something that is wrong. Which resulted in
wholescale decline in the number of medical professional who chose mental illness
as their speciality.
In 1975, The Supreme Court Passed a Law and According to this newly created law,
It was a violation of civil liberties to hospitalize or medicate a person with mental
illness without his/her consent.
That’s why Today, one can’t help a person suffering from psychosis without first
obtaining either a court order or consent from the person himself, this process can
easily take couple of months. Irony is most of the people suffering from
Schizophrenia find it nearly impossible to recognize that they need help.
The widespread closure of mental-health institutions resulted in dire
Under a well-intentioned political move, all the mentally ill people were freed from
medical institutions, which resulted in an absolute disaster. Following this event,
advent of “wonder drugs” encouraged the ill-advised mass deinstitutionalization.
In 1960, a drug called Thorazine was touted as cure for Schizophrenia. When all the
institutions were closed, their family members preferred this drug. But the truth is that
there isn’t cure for mental illness, all it can do is to stabilize the patient’s illness.
Despite this fact, the pharmaceuticals companies sold their product by advertising
that falsely promised cure to mental illness. But later the companies ended up paying
all the income as legal fees. But no CEO has ever faced jail for such an offense.
In 1963, amount of 150 million dollar was invested for opening of community mentalhealth treatment across the nation. This program ran well but the Vietnam War
stopped it. By 1973, less than half the proposed centers had been built and some
280,000 patients were discharged. And because these patients were unable to find
jobs they ended up sleeping on roads or some indulged in criminal activities and
ended up in jail.
Reports of mentall Health problems among state inmates have reached a rate of 52
Mental health should be a priority of our society
Mental illness is a hidden threat. We can protect countless people by taking concrete
The first step is to make serious efforts to diagnose mental illness early on. Beyond
early diagnose, we also need to see the universal benefits in caring for people with
mental illness. For e.g. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has estimated that
the $50,000 it costs, per sentence, to jail a person with mental illness could be
avoided by spending a mere 2 or 3 thousand on treatment, thereby saving thousand
And Finally, we must remember that people with mental illness often have no voice
of own. So its our responsibility to speak up for them and their families.
For Decades, those with mental illness have been treated as disposal. And the
damaging effects of decades of poor mental-health policy are irreversible. But we
can raise awareness about mental illness, advocate for those affected and begin
moving in right direction.