Profiling people with mental illnesses


When a celebrity chef was caught shoplifting from his local supermarket, he expressed regret and cited stress and overwork as the reason. Yet, his behavior baffled him so he sought a therapist and asked; Am I slightly sad, slightly bad or slightly mad?Psychologists are concerned about the use of diagnostic systems that classify behaviors like the above as illnesses. There seems to be a tendency to medicalize behaviors that are simply upsetting or distressing; this might even be encouraged by medical insurance and drug companies. Yet, I believe that most insurance companies have the following written in a small font: if mental illness develops for any reason, this policy does not cover that person. (I used my own words here)

There has been extensive coverage in many newspapers about a Canadian woman who was denied entry into the USA because she’d been hospitalized for depression a year ago. She was told that until she obtained medical clearance, she would not be allowed to enter. As if stigmatizing a mental disorder isn’t bad enough, stigmatizing the treatment of that disorder is what is happening now!

When the H.I.V. crisis broke out, for more than 20 years the USA prohibited people with H.I.V. from entering that country. I read that New York City uses solitary confinement for a high percentage of people with a mental illness. Even for people with no history of mental health issues, prolonged isolation can cause hallucinations. So, for a person who is already ill, solitary confinement accelerates existing psychiatric problems and often leads to suicide.

profiling of mentally  ill people

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