More on stigma

I have heard a weatherman describe the weather as schizophrenic. A journalist described a schizophrenia sufferer as a ‘Time Bomb.’ A leading newspaper ran this headline,Insanity in Gaza. In another article, ‘The Legacy of a Madman’ was used when describing Mr. Milosevic in Serbia. They always seem to equate insanity with horror.

In a newspaper advert there was a picture of a disk player on a man’s forehead with the following caption: Hearing voices in your head?

 All this while I watched my son suffer deeply as a result of those voices.

Maybe the next soap opera can include a storyline about one of the young characters developing schizophrenia, the message being that this illness affets young people and the sooner they seek treatment, the better. In short, mental health needs to be put on the public agenda and into our school system.

I know that while my son was so ill, people pointed at me saying; “She’s the one with the crazy son – but never “she’s the one with the healthy daughters.”

The world has done a good job of teaching our girls not to talk about their brother because they know how severely the word judges; scorn, blame and condemnation. By talking out, the silent millions can change the stereotype that mentally ill people are strange – strange because they came from crazy families.

I remember a time when nobody spoke about cancer. we have come a long way since then.


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