TED Conversations

Arjuna Nagendran


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What experiences have made you more comfortable with mental health disorders?

What things make you fearful of mental health disorders? And what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?

In the quest to dispell stigma, how can we help our society grow out of its fear?


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  • Oct 13 2012: I worked for many years with people with mental health disorders. I found that although mental health conditions may cause some challenges in perception and gaging "reality" or in regulating emotions, most of the people I met were good-hearted people with interesting perspectives and much to contribute to the world. In contrast, I have met people with no diagnosed mental health condition who lacked character, were dull, selfish or even violent.

    I was shocked to hear of a study in college that showed that most rapists are not technically mentally ill (based on thier answers to a questionaire aimed to evaluate mental health.) Is this true?

    What seems true, from my first hand experience, is that there are many people who appear to be very high functioning, show no outward symptoms of mental illness but go on to do some terrible things ... even criminal things. Then, there are people with severe mental illness who are non-violent, very kind, creative, even brilliant and are just very wonderful people.

    So, I guess for me, dispelling the myth ( that I was raised with) that mental illness is a character flaw has been major breakthough. One can be mentally ill and also be a very fine and honorable person. Mental health is not a measure of one's integrity or value.

    Bottom line ... people are people. Some are diagnosed with mental illnesses and some are not. Everyone has equal value even if they struggle with mental health challenges.

    I have to remember this ... as I fight to maintian my own sense of self-worth as a person living with chronic depression and PTSD.
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      Oct 14 2012: I can tell you my experience started with a depression becouse of a lot of factors (is hard to explain here) but it depends on how much you learned about and how much did you think about someone that is mentally ill ( for me to say about someone is mentally ill means i do not belive in God and the will to help us find our happiness). I realise that in my life I have made small bad things to people and do not had now the opportunity to excuse myself and maybe I will not have the opportunity later to do it and if I interfere with bad intention in the way of someone happines I will suffer later a lot so i try to do everything I do from all my heart as to say ... even that I know I am susceptible to mistakes.... Something like this http://youtu.be/vFD2gu007dc
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        Oct 14 2012: so free you are ! lots of time was used on line
      • Oct 19 2012: Thank you for the youtube link and thoughtful response lulian.

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