The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When Will We Get Over Sterotypes

In the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) "Schizophrenia: Public Attitudes, Personal Needs" report stated the following statistics:

* 79% of people would want a friend to tell them if they were diagnosed with
schizophrenia, but only 46% say they would tell friends if they themselves were
diagnosed.
* 27% would be embarrassed to tell others if one of their own family members was
diagnosed.
* 80% expressed discomfort with the prospect of dating someone with schizophrenia
who has not received treatment, compared to only 49% if the person has (received
treatment).

Why are people ashamed to admit that schizophrenia affects their lives? Many people have various misconceptions about schizophrenia- people with schizophrenia are violent, lazy, or homeless. While I do not fit into the stereotype of a person with schizophrenia as well as many of my readers with schizophrenia, people continue to believe these myths.

Again, 79 percent of people would want a friend to tell them they have the illness while almost half of study participants would not admit to that diagnoses if they had schizophrenia. Why is that- that is a double standard. Why do people expect so much from others, but want leniency when it comes to their status?

Going on the second prong, why is it that a relative would be embarrassed by their family member's diagnosis of schizophrenia? Nobody is perfect, many people have medical ailments such as diabetes and cancer or undesirable personality traits such as being conceited, a pathological liar, or a gossiper- those traits should be embarrassing, but not schizophrenia. Nobody can decide who gets mental illness.

About half of survey participates would not date someone with schizophrenia even if they had treatment. This statistic really saddens me. Again, nobody is perfect and they certainly cannot determine whether they have a mental illness or not.

What do you think of these statistics? Do the statistics surprise- why or why not?

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the following organization's websites: 1) the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or 2) Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).

2 comments:

Wanderer62 said...

The stigma saddens me too. What's worse is it affects me by inhibiting me and so many others I'm sure. It reinforces my inclination to be alone. I fight it, but I still feel ashamed of my illness, though not all the time.

People are afraid of what they don't understand.

Kate

Valash said...

Hello Kate,

I just want to remind of how common mental illness is, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also states an estimated 1 out of 5 families are affected by mental illness.

Don't let mental illness hinder your goals, you can accomplish so much by taking advantage of treatment such as antipsychotic medications and therapy.

And, you are not alone in this battle to overcome. Keep fighting stigma.

I agree with you, "People are afraid of what they don't understand".

Ashley