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Fight the Stigma

What can be done?

Are you angry about outdated, outrageous, offensive portrayals or language about persons with mental illness? How do you feel about Tom Cruise and Scientology? Webster defines stigma has having a mark of infamy or disgrace. You do not have to look beyond Virginia to find outrageous comments and treatment concerning the mentally ill. In 2001, local law enforcement in Northumberland County of Eastern Virginia, sought to incarcerate a young honor student for 35 years for robbing a bank that was located across the street from the sheriff's office. He was unarmed and had been diagnosed beforehand with a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia.

A Virginia state senator, who considers himself a conservative Christian, recently told several conservative groups that psychological disorders are caused by spiritual demons, which possess the victims because they have committed sins.

There are several things you can do.

Use of Language

"Film and television shows depicting mental illness can help the public learn it is treatable and that suicide is preventable. . . they have a greater ability to disseminate information and attitudes than we (health workers) do alone." -- U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher

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