The Stigma of Mental Illness

Today, a British periodical published a story that serves to underscore the stigma of mental illness. A pizza was delivered to the staff at a psychiatric hospital. On the ticket, the address was characterized as the “loony bin.”

It seems likely that this was unintentional, just a thoughtless attempt at humor. Nevertheless, it is a perfect example of how people with mental illness are often stigmatized.

People who wouldn’t dream of demeaning a person based on race, religion, nationality, etc. often have no qualms of calling someone a “head case,” “psycho,” “loony,” and worse. We are treated as though mental illness were a sin, rather than an illness.

It’s more than just a hurtful name. It’s one more reason why mentally ill people don’t seek treatment. They don’t want to be held up to ridicule. When mentally ill people don’t get the treatment they need, many of them die.

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