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When Will We Get Over Sterotypes

Posted May 20 2009 1:20pm
In the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) "Schizophrenia: Public Attitudes, Personal Needs" report stated the following statistics:

* 79% of people would want a friend to tell them if they were diagnosed with
schizophrenia, but only 46% say they would tell friends if they themselves were
* 27% would be embarrassed to tell others if one of their own family members was
* 80% expressed discomfort with the prospect of dating someone with schizophrenia
who has not received treatment, compared to only 49% if the person has (received

Why are people ashamed to admit that schizophrenia affects their lives? Many people have various misconceptions about schizophrenia- people with schizophrenia are violent, lazy, or homeless. While I do not fit into the stereotype of a person with schizophrenia as well as many of my readers with schizophrenia, people continue to believe these myths.

Again, 79 percent of people would want a friend to tell them they have the illness while almost half of study participants would not admit to that diagnoses if they had schizophrenia. Why is that- that is a double standard. Why do people expect so much from others, but want leniency when it comes to their status?

Going on the second prong, why is it that a relative would be embarrassed by their family member's diagnosis of schizophrenia? Nobody is perfect, many people have medical ailments such as diabetes and cancer or undesirable personality traits such as being conceited, a pathological liar, or a gossiper- those traits should be embarrassing, but not schizophrenia. Nobody can decide who gets mental illness.

About half of survey participates would not date someone with schizophrenia even if they had treatment. This statistic really saddens me. Again, nobody is perfect and they certainly cannot determine whether they have a mental illness or not.

What do you think of these statistics? Do the statistics surprise- why or why not?

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the following organization's websites: 1) the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or 2) Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).
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