Do Your Part To Combat Stigma

Oh, no! Imagine a 71% increase in the mental illness rate! Well, that’s exactly what we’d get if these misinformation brochures on the stigma of mental health conditions had anything to do with it.

According to an article on the subject, New leaflets to shoot down mental health misconceptions, in the Malta Independent:

“Stigma is a real problem for people who have a mental illness. Stigma based on stereotypes is a negative judgment based on a personal trait, in this case, having a mental health condition. It used to be a common perception that having a mental illness was due to some kind of personal weakness. We now know that mental health disorders have a biological basis and can be treated like any other health condition. Unfortunately only 29 per cent of sufferers seek help,” said Mr [Mario] Galea.

Excuse me, Mr. Galea, but we do not now know that mental health disorders have a biological basis. This is all purely theoretical speculation, there is absolutely no evidense to support these suppositions, and they are not a matter to be taken seriously. That is, they are not meant to be taken seriously by people who are not desparate to spend their time in the bug house.

Mr Galea pointed out that one per cent of the population suffers from schizophrenia. One of every six men and one of every four women suffers from depression. In Malta, 33,000 people fall victim to depression yearly and studies show that eight per cent of the population suffer from some sort of mental health condition at some point in their lives. A suicide is committed every nine minutes in Europe, adding up to 54,000 suicides in 2009. The EU estimates that mental health problems will become the second most common health problem after cardiovascular diseases in a few years’ time.

If you can envision the pharmaceutical company executives rustling maps, looking for new markets to break into, behind the scenes…Ahha! I think you’ve got it.

Yeah, and if only 29% of these people have been nabbed, do you really want to raise the figure 71%? If mental health problems do become the second most common health problem in a few years time, we will know who to blame.

Thanks to improvements in mental health services 12,000 patients are receiving treatment in the community without having to be hospitalised.

Of course, deinstitutionalization didn’t have anything to do with this switch to treatment in the community. Just think what our mental hospitals would look like given an increase of almost thrice the number of patients they presently hold? In some places today there is a reinstitutionalizing reaction to deinstitutionalization taking place. Just consider what happens when, after reinstitutionalizing, we deinstitutionalize again, and dump all of these freshly recruited newly sprung looney birds in your front yard.

Don’t listen to all that pro-stigma nonsense, people, go in and get help for the condition you must be suffering from today. There are 297 of ‘em listed in the DSM IV, and there will be even more in the DSM V, set to be published in 2013. If you don’t have this or that disorder, we’ll find something for you to have. Uncle Looney Bin wants you!