Posted by Bebe Smith, MSW, a professor at UNC-CH School of Social Work, on NC Health News site:
I thought this information should be shared as the discussion of the shootings in Connecticut continue. While I do not necessarily agree with her piece in its entirety, I think her statement below is important.
"In the aftermath of these events, people with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, become demons in the eyes of their fellow citizens. This ugly public perception of mental illness affects what happens privately – if a young person with a promising future develops psychosis, we don’t want to believe it. We ignore it or call it something else. And because many have this notion that a person with schizophrenia is equivalent to a monster, the person with psychosis isn’t likely to embrace that label. Denial delays treatment, and the cycle continues."
I know these challenges because I have spent the past 20 years working with people with schizophrenia. I love my clients. They are not monsters. They are your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They are part of the human family, with the same hopes and dreams we all have...