Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Can you spot the stigma in this interview with Glenn Close?



I'm not at all a fan of Glenn Close's campaign to reduce stigma for the "mentally ill." I especially hated the tee shirts (see above) that she and her sister wore for the Bring Change 2 Mind campaign.  Putting that aside, the Ottawa Citizen has an interview today with Glenn and her sister Jessie Close, which is cringeworthy.

Perhaps you can spot what I'm talking about.  Hint: I'm really only referring to one sentence out of the whole interview. The basis of my objection concerns the study that Sheila Mehta conducted in 1997 at Auburn University. To quote from the New York Times article on The Americanization of Mental Illness:

The results of the current study suggest that we may actually treat people more harshly when their problem is described in disease terms,” Mehta wrote. “We say we are being kind, but our actions suggest otherwise.”
 
Can anyone spot the harsh treatment in the Ottawa Citizen?

No prizes will be awarded for the right answer.

7 comments:

  1. The two words "Mentally ill" are by themselves the most stygmatising words I know.

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    1. Oh, my goodness, the reply function is finally working on this blog after three years!

      Good comment, anonymous. The sentence I found objectionable is where the reporter describes Jessie Close in most unattractive terms. Maybe it's just me, but this strikes me as harsh treatment.

      “I didn’t put two and two together as far as mental health,” said Jessie Close, sitting close to her sister on a couch in an Ottawa hotel room, her black top flecked with hair from her tiny dog that accompanies her on speaking engagements."

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  2. I believe mental illness is myth. One of the most damaging myths out there!!! The challenges that many suffer from is our bodies natural response to horrific amounts of stress and pressure!

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    1. I agree Kelly. I believe wholeheartedly that most mental illness is a reaction to acute stress and often part of the evolutionary process handed down from parents to child and that our HUGE responsibility as parents is to accept the clear mirror they offer us and look at the situation not as unfixable and as something 'wrong' with the child and in need of medication but as a journey to wholeness for the whole family and sometimes the mirror reflection is even larger than the immediate family and a reaction to societal ills..we should take of our hats to the courage of the souls willing to act as our mirrors to enable our own soul healing. I am a mother of a young adult with 'acute stress' or ADHD + according to those who would 'know'..I see him (at last) as a courageous soul leading me to a huge understanding of myself and my unhealed places.

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  3. Thanks, Kelly. I agree. A stress reaction to whatever is going on in one's life is too often labelled as a mental illness and treated like a medical illness, meaning drugs.

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  4. I think changing the label from "mentally ill", to acutely sensitive would be more respectful. I think we ought to demand better treatment from society. I think we can learn from the gay pride movement...unfortunately too many of us are too drugged to really fight for our rights.

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  5. can't access the interview, but who needs it? Is that photo a joke? One is a "sister" - a human being, member of a family unit - and the other is a "bipolar" - a disease. Gee, I can't wait to get my own bipolar t-shirt to feel really good about myself.

    (btw, anybody looked into the role of devious, overbearing siblings who put other siblings down into the development of bipolar disorder in those put-down siblings?

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I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.