Erase the Stigma
We often mistakenly perceive adults afflicted with mental illnesses as violent. We only seem to speak of mental illness and the mental-health field when a tragedy occurs. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes, than the perpetrators.
Studies show that violent crimes against people with mental illnesses are four times higher than those against the general population. It’s also estimated that only 2 percent of violent episodes in the United States are attributed to people with mental illness. The misconception that mental illness equals violence promotes a stigma with devastating consequences.
Let’s erase this stigma and start spreading the word about how people with mental illnesses can become productive citizens. They are increasingly becoming educated, obtaining degrees, working hard, paying bills, becoming successful parents and doing laundry just like the rest of us.
Alejandro M. Aristizabal, Miami
The Miami Herald, February 6, 2011