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Alyson MacDonald

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What do you think of as a mental illness? And do you think mental illness is a actual serious illness?

There are many types of mental illnesses from obsessive compulsive disorder to depression, but oftentimes when you are stricken with these typed of illness the sympathy and support that friends and family usually give you disappears. Why is that? Is it simply they don't understand or is it that they don't believe it's an actual illness?

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  • Nov 17 2012: I used to be one of those people who don't really consider mental illnesses as "real" unless it was someone hallucinating and talking to invisible people like in the movies. Now, after having experience with a loved one who has a mental illness, my opinion has completely changed. It is definitely a very real disease, and can be just as traumatic as diseases that we can see right away. In some ways it can be worse because of how many brush mental illness off as unimportant or how people with mental illness are usually stigmatized.

    I don't believe there is enough education about it, and what is portrayed in various forms of media do nothing to alleviate the misinformation. For example, someone who has depression will not necessarily LOOK depressed. They will be able to put on a happy face and function normally all while contemplating ending their life. In situations like this, compassion is the most useful thing, so when sympathy disappears from the most important people, nothing but bad can come from it.

    Mental illness cannot be brushed off. A person who got shot and a person who is contemplating suicide from depression should be treated the same. They are both sick and both need help, even if it's different kinds of help. This is something that is very serious to me as a friend of mine voluntarily went to a hospital and said "Help me. I'm suicidal." and the nurse told him he wasn't suicidal enough and turned him away. That is the equivalent as someone saying that a patient's cancer isn't bad enough.

    There just isn't enough education about the topic as people avoid it. There needs to be more compassion and realistic education so hopefully mental illness will be taken more seriously.

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