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Stigma of Mental Illness

By Cathryn Murray According to a recent statistics, one out of four people will be diagnosed with a mental illness. Dealing with a mental illness is one of the toughest things that an individual will face. I know this, because in 2009, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1. On my road to recovery, I have encountered many people that have misconceptions about mental illnesses. The lives of people with mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma, as well as discrimination. Stigma is a very negative stereotype. Stigma is a reality for many people with a mental illness, and they report how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life. There is so much that needs to be done in eliminating stigma in mental illness. It is so important that we continue to share our stories and bring a positive light to mental illness. Often the media showcases mental illnesses in a bad light. We have to remember that not everyone with a mental illness will become violent. There are millions of people living with mental illnesses, and when we hear about one person that has done something wrong, we need to remember that not everyone is like that one person. Many people living with mental illnesses are living positive and productive lives. I believe that therapy, the support from friends, family and medication play a huge role in the recovery process. We must continue to educate others on mental illnesses. It does not help when comedians or well-known performers, like Miley Cyrus, joke or make horrible statements about people dealing with mental illnesses. This happened recently, and my only concern is that people who listen to them will start to believe that it is acceptable to make jokes or call people rude names. It is not. It is never okay for others to put people down because of mental illnesses. The truth is that people with mental illnesses are not crazy or psychotic. People with Bipolar are smart, talented and creative. In my recovery process, I have met many people that are doing amazing things with their lives, and trying to live normal and successful lives. It takes strength and courage to speak out on mental illness. I applaud those individuals that have come out and said, “Hey, I have a mental illness and I am not letting it stop me.” Demi Lovato, an American pop singer, is a wonderful role model for us that are living with mental illness. She recently talked about battling mental and substance abuse issues. She speaks out and posts often on her social media accounts about facing mental illness issues. I think the media needs to concentrate on showcasing positive examples of people overcoming mental illnesses, but sadly, this does not increase ratings, sells magazines or newspapers. Recently, on the cover of the tabloid magazine The Sun, it read: 1,200 killed by mental patients. These headlines and stories are incorrect and misleading information, but what can be done to erase the stigma that comes along with living with a mental illness? I think more education in our schools is a great place to start. We need to break away from using words like, “crazy” or “psycho” to define someone. We need to actively help individuals with mental illness find jobs and places to live. More importantly, we must always remember to show compassion and be a friend. So I am asking you. Can you be a friend with someone who has a mental illiness?  For more information on mental health issues contact Nami is a wonderful organization that can and will connect you to resources in your own community and nation. Originally published at:

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Final Adjusted Grade Points 92.75 / 100 Grade A- Teachers comment on my Presentation 29 / 30 A Overall Feedback Hi Cathryn! Thank you for your submission. Congratulations on your completion of the co