Building on one of the eight modern cultural taboos discussed yesterday, I want to talk about the way our society views and deals with the issue of mental illness.
There are two distinct aspects of this:
1) How we as individuals approach mental illness in our own lives.
2) How we as a group approach mental illness in the lives of those around us.
Today, I want to talk about the second.
To begin, check out this short video from National Geographic:
Though I’ve never personally met anyone whose story was quite like Larry’s, I’ve seen many that were similar.
During my junior year of college I started a job working one-on-one with the mentally ill. Many were diagnosed with mental retardation, though autism was a common diagnosis as well.
You see a lot of the world working in a job like that. Mostly, you see the parts we don’t like talking about.
We don’t like talking about how we hardly even understand the very basic elements of mental illness.
We don’t like talking about how we treat symptoms but so often ignore the disease.
We don’t like talking about how we take the difficult cases- the ones who need the most help of all– and stick them in group homes where the staff gets paid less than a cashier at McDonald’s.
We don’t like having to think about what goes on in those homes, when no one else is watching, when the problems are so great and the solutions so impossible to find.
But I believe we should.
I believe we have to.
*Photo Credit: Tom Blackwell (Creative Commons)[divider]
This week’s topic (also known as the Weekly Curiosity) is taboos. Check back each weekday at 12:34pm for a new post exploring this idea. In the meantime, here are three ways you can join the quest: