On Mental Illness

On Mental Illness
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Mental illness is not the fault on an individual or individuals suffering from this scourge. The reasons for this kind of illness are manifold and cannot be isolated to one or two factors. But, the thematic aspect of mental illness is that anyone at any point in time can fall victim to it. Yet, despite this people with mental illnesses are not treated well. Broadly speaking, some people have genetic misconfigurations that make them predisposed to this kind and form of illness. Some others become victims to misfortunes or calamities of a nature that they can’t cope up with. Or, at times, if some people are predisposed to mental illness, the environment aggravates and brings out this condition. In sum, the person who is a victim of this scourge is not at fault; it is not his or her choice to be mentally ill. The individual or individuals who are victims of this blight are the real sufferers but society’s hostile attitude toward these makes the suffering worse. Instead of hostility, the mentally ill must be treated with great care and compassion. But, to the contrary, what is observed in practice is that besides hostility, the mentally ill are not taken care of. Often times, they are abandoned by their families and are thereby left exposed to the elements. There are rudimentary facilities and there is hardly any end to end treatment existing and available for them. They then become double victims: one of hostility and indifference and the other of lack of robust, comprehensive care. As a result, their lives are that of misery, suffering and finally an indecorous end as many pass away with no one claiming them even in death. All this is a telling commentary on society which must be redressed. The first step toward remedying the insouciance and indifference is to understand the nature of mental illness. Most mentally ill people are neither dangerous nor a threat to society of individuals in society. The second is to understand and appreciate, at the risk of repetition, that they are not ill by choice; it is not their fault. The third is to develop facilities of care for these people. Last, but not the least, is to develop compassion toward the mentally ill. The list delineated here is not exhaustive but would constitute a good starting point to address an “issue” which is either kept under the wraps or sought to be obscured by keeping the mentally ill away from our emotional universes and social horizons.