Today we’re gonna talk media scare tactics with mental illness.
I’m Angela Howard and my passion is to break the stigma of mental health issues among fellow Christians. If you’re new to my channel please subscribe and don’t forget to click on that notifications bell so you don’t miss out on any of the new content.
Turn on the national news any given night and you may hear reports of a random act of violence. It’s natural to shake our heads and wonder why and how something so horrible can take place. There has to be a reason. We want to blame something or someone. Most often what happens is that the perpetrator of the crime is labeled “crazy or mentally ill.”
Myths and misunderstanding about mental illness are common, especially when used by the media to sensationalize an event and play into our fears. It’s easy to blame a violent act on mental illness, but when more research is done there are more often issues of substance abuse, and a family history of violence or neglect that compound the situation. Sweeping generalizations are made that everyone with bipolar disorder has delusions and thinks they can fly, everyone with schizophrenia have visual hallucinations, and everyone with depression is suicidal. Those who have mental health diagnosis are widely viewed as being dangerous and unpredictable. Surveys show that 61 percent of Americans believe that people with schizophrenia are violent toward others. But what’s the truth?
Here are the facts from the American Psychiatric Association:
- People with mental illnesses are no more likely to be violent than those WITHOUT a mental health disorder. In fact, those with mental illness are 10 times more likely to be the victims of violent crime.
- One in 24 adults has a serious mental illness.
- One in 12 has a substance use disorder.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. It is more common than homicide.
The words we use when we write or speak about mental illness are very important. This isn’t because we need to be overly sensitive to people being “triggered.” It’s simply because words have power and they perpetuate stigma.
A person may have a mental health condition, but that is only a part of their life. It is not a label or a defining character trait that outlines who they are in entirety.
Remember what Romans 15:7 teaches…
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7 (NIV)
What ideas do you have to break the stigma of mental illness? I’d love to hear from you today, comment below.
No more confusion or wondering how you’ll face the roller coaster of life with mental illness. Mental Health Academy is here to take the mystery away, and give you the knowledge and the tools you need to have relationships that last! The time is NOW to get our first course: Trauma.
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