Be Aware of Mental Illness

By Richard MacTough
Staff Writer

Mental illness is a subject that should be well understood.  Unfortunately, the only time the media will discuss it, is when a mass shooting occurs.

Phrases like “insane” or “crazy” are extremely hurtful, and are equivalent to using a racial slur when it comes to an individual suffering from a serious illness.

The slurs are completely stigmatizing and discourage people of all ages, gender and races to seek help.

I personally suffered, and recovered from an anxiety disorder and clinical depression. It was hard, especially when people thought I was dangerous.

When violent crimes occur, three to five percent are committed by an individual with a serious psychological disorder according to an article by Dr. Jonathan Metzl and Dr. Kenneth MacLeish.

Most of these people are able to recover and have a good job and children of their own and make huge contributions to society.

Someone who has been diagnosed of a mental illness is actually almost ten times more likely to be victim to a crime opposed to those who are “normal.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that one in four people discover they are coping with a mental disorder in a given year.

A study released by the American Psychological Association revealed that suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.

Whether you are a football player, in a fraternity, or simply just an average student, chances are one of your family members or friends is going through this problem right now.

Entertainers, authors and even world leaders have had their share of mental distress.

Abraham   Lincoln—you know, the 16th president of The United States—is now commonly diagnosed with clinical depression.

John Nash, a mathematician and genius, lived with schizophrenia and was able to recover. He went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for creating “The Game Theory.”

Films have a fictional way of portraying those with a mental illness.

The second season of American Horror Story betrayed a non-factual idea of an asylum. Fiction creates a story that people with disorders are violent, mean, and sinister.

Individuals who have or go through problems right now are more sensitive, emphatic and kind.

I have no desire to own or use a gun, however, with my hospital records the government is trying to restrict harmless individuals like me from having a gun.

Apparently, US citizens have the right to protect themselves; but what about someone with a mental illness?

A simple individual who has never committed a crime, and has no desire to?

If you take away gun rights, you have to take away all. If such a law gets passed, we will be stigmatized more, it will affect our job opportunities and social life.

Email Richard at: rmactough@live.esu.edu

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