Another more common instance is telling someone in the workforce that a person needs accommodations due to mental illness. Many employers do not understand mental illness, so they try to avoid the situation all together by firing or encouraging the individual with mental illness to quit (another situation I learned of through an on-line discussion group).
Once, while psychotic and not aware of my mental illness, I was questioned by the police and sent home with family. However, if the police had been trained in mental illness like how to spot individuals with mental illness, I could have been treated sooner.
Some people do not think mental illness exists. How can we get them to understand?
1) I think mental illness education should be mandatory for teachers and employers, this way people will be more sensitive to individuals with mental illness. The state can make such programs mandatory by enforcing it through funding opportunities. Make schools and employers have a certain percentage of people with mental disabilities take advantage of their services and jobs. As a result, there will be less stereotypes and stigma attached to mental illness; and less students will feel discouraged and less employees will feel discriminated against.
2)Mental illness education should be taught in middle school as a part of the health education curriculum, just like STDs, sex education, and drug-free programs. This information, when taught earlier before the age of the onset of mental illness, will help people understand that something is wrong and that they should seek a professional health care provider for diagnosis.
3)Train police on how to spot individuals with mental illness. Then, more people with mental illness will get treatment.
What are some other ways we can get them to understand mental illness?
To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada). Also, visit Embracing My Mind for open group discussion on various topics concerning mental illness and life.