Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mental illness is not a convenient excuse

It is little wonder that the stigma surrounding mental illness persists (''Mum's the word'', April 20). Such is the media-cultivated perception of those who suffer from a mental illness that many of my friends struggle to believe I have a bipolar spectrum disorder. Quite simply, because I don't behave like a moron.

Too often when a crime or act of stupidity is committed, a defence of mental illness is proffered.

Most recently, Todd Carney and Anthony Watts from the Sydney Roosters were , respectively, caught drink-driving and charged with assault before their depression was broadcast by media outlets. The same has applied to the actor Matthew Newton, and the footballers Ben Cousins, Andrew Johns, Brendan Fevola and Wayne Carey to name only a few. That these men have become the public faces of depressive-related illnesses is an insult to those who suffer from and battle the dreadful symptoms with dignity. Even more so because it could easily be argued that these celebrities have made choices which create, worsen or exacerbate their respective conditions.

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