Friday, 24 January 2014

Crimes and mental illness

Something that happens almost too often is our assumption that someone who has commited a crime has a mental health issue. Why do we assume this? Because we cannot seem to understand how anyone in the right mind would do such terrible things like murder, rape, and stealing. But what we often forget is that not everyone who commits a crime is mentally ill. Some may be, but others may have other reasons for their actions. It is wrong to blame all actions on a mental health issue.

This happens in courts a lot. The criminal's lawyer will try hard to make the accused look as though he/she has a mental illness, and that is what caused them to do the crime. Often, crimes get blamed on bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, etc. If the person really is ill, then they deserve treatment. But does that mean that they are not to blame for what they did? Can having a mental health issue make you suddenly free from taking responsibility for you actions? No. Let's put it this way: if I stole something from a store last year while I was sick (which I did not, by the way...this is just an example!) and I blamed it on ED, would I be free from punishment? Likely not. But what if I blamed it on bipolar disorder? Would I still be punished? Maybe not.

The problem with this is that people come to look at mental illnesses as being fake or made up because they are so used to seeing mental illnesses be used as excuses for crimes. I have heard many people say 'well, that person must have a mental issue because he killed that lady' or 'she must be bipolar to have hurt her own children'. But what does that do for people who have mental illnesses? It downplays their illness. It makes it seem as though they must be criminal or completely psychotic because they have such an illness. It also means that people start to think of mental illnesses as being terrible and demoralizing or changing individuals. This just adds to the stigma that is already associated with mental illness. Instead of seeing patients with illnesses as needing treatment, we begin to see them as crazy people who can act out at anytime.

What do we learn? Every person is different, even if they have the same mental illness as another person. Not everyone who has a mental illness is a criminal, and not every criminal has a mental illness. To blame people's actions on a mental illness all the time is wrong because it takes the responsibility off of fhe person. I agree that to a certain extent, certain actions may be the result of a mental illness. But we cannot blame EVERY SINGLE thing that a person does on their illness. When I was sick, I was mean to my parents when they made me eat. That was because of my mental illness, ED. In this case, it WAS the illness that caused my actions. But if I had gone out and punched my neighbour in the face, would that be because of ED? No. We need to stop using mental illnesses an another word for insanity and start seeing the term as what it is: a reference to a serious disorder that can change the way a person thinks or behaves, that debiliates an individual, and that causes severe impairment in their lives. Mental illnesses are REAL illnesses and they cause a lot of distress in patients. Not every patient with a mental illness is violent or psychotic. We need to be careful with our words and how we use the term 'mental illness' because this can say a lot about our own opinions about these disorders. Also, be aware of what you believe in society and from the media. Not all people with mental illnesses are criminals, and sometimes, it takes a bit more information to make a judgment on someone you don't know.

42 comments:

  1. You are absolutely right Marina
    Almost 95 % of criminal are just criminal and no mental health .
    Only less than 5% may commit crime when are very ill and their brain not able to discern what is right or wrong or may be under influence of alcohol or drugs.
    Those who are depressed or having ED are so kind people and they are kids at heart and need all society to treat them with care and compasion .

    Kelly W
    To

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  2. Shame on those who believe criminals are mental health people .May be some have mental health but mental illness does not make people criminal ulness their brain are under influence.

    Sebastian

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  3. Thanks Marina
    I had long hsitory of anxiety and depression and now fully recovered and I never been rude or aggressive or charged with any offence only tickets for parking.

    Carlos

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  4. We are behind you to de-stigmatize mental illnesses

    Clorado

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  5. People with mental health deserve kindness, respect and love and not labeling them.

    Solomon

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  6. Let me yell and shout BREAK THE STIGMA.

    Elora

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  7. I guess those who suffer from antisocial personality may commit a crime but majority of those with depression,anexiity are so kind and honest

    Matylda

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  8. Naive those who associate crimes with mental health.

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  9. We all share responsibility to de-stigmatize mental illness and ask public to feel compassion for them.

    Shady

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  10. As you recall,I suffered severe depression for years.
    I never behave inappropriately despite all the agony.
    Thank you for standing up for all those who have mental illness including myself

    Mays

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  11. Never judge, assume
    Be kind to those who happen to be ill.
    All of us can be ill at any time.
    Be supportive and non judgemental
    I pray for all those who are ill.

    Sunday Priest

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    1. perfect response :)

      Katie Jane

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  12. You know lawyers try to win for their clients by any means.
    They better watch not to generalize.

    Jack

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  13. I feel sorry for any person who happen to be ill.
    Part of my communication skill is to show empathy for those who are ill.
    Why people judge and sometimes rude ,I do not know .

    Penny

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  14. Crimes are committed by criminals not by those who happen to have down time with a disease.

    Lillian

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  15. Who is immune against mental illness shall cast the first stone .
    No body is immune, We all may at certain point have some kind or another .
    Why We judge others

    Kelly W

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  16. We need to see mental illness ,same as we see heart disease and high blood pressure.
    If some one happen to commit a crime and We find out has mental illness ,this does not mean mental illness led to that crime unless the mental illness so severe that affected the judgement and ability of brain to discern between what is appropriate.

    Lenus

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  17. I like what you said ,not every criminal has mental illness and not every one having mental illness commit a crime.

    Carlos

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  18. Marina
    I am really impressed with your views on this post.
    Those who have mental illness are innocent kind people deserve kindness and compassion and are sane and have the capacity to make their own sound decisions even those who are bipolar or even have schizophrenia or even Alzheimer unless their illness advanced and affect their ability to judge and have lack of insight or become psychotic(out of touch of reality)
    Mentally ill people are sane and have clear mind
    ED though can affect brain ability to judge and affect the person needs of nutrition and affect self image perception so that ED victims see themselves fat when they are bony and see their food portions huge when just a small piece that less than a baby meal. I never heard ED person commit any crime or rude to any one unless you want to feed them .

    CJ(RN and CDE)

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  19. I agree with all of you guys

    Hend

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  20. Very pleased with your support to those who are ill ,no matter what their illness is.

    Maritza

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  21. Those with depression or anxiety need lots of support and sympathy not judgement

    Zak

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  22. My dad suffered severe intractable depression for many years and he never hurt any body physically or emotionally.
    Media need not generalize or mix those who commit a crime and happen to have a mental illness and those who are just have mental illness.
    Thanks Marina for de-stigmatize mental illness

    With my humble respect

    Mohammad

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  23. Today I am happy to hear To school board is looking at ways to address students mental health and well being.
    You are a head of school board Marina

    Pierrette

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  24. Yaaaaa
    Marina a head of school board.

    Anastashia

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  25. I have not met any body without a sort of mental illness at certain point in life .
    Mental illness as depression or anxiety or recovering from a trauma or ED is a disease that should be treated with care and kindness.
    Criminal are different.

    Hernandez

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  26. I am pleased with your support of all those who have any kind of mental illness which range from just not feeling well to severely depressed ,traumatized or coping with drugs use.
    I do not condone those who used drugs but I still feel compassionate with their sufferings.

    Thanks Marina
    I am doing extremely well at my schools and my marks are much better .

    Anne

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  27. I want say same words as Anne and I want thank Marina and tell her I also doing well in my recovery

    Nanraj

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  28. Marina my dear friend.
    I had been depressed since I was 14 and when got worse I used to stay home ,did not answer phones, no shower and no make up. My depression got worse when my only daughter got ill and I could not find what making her sick till I met you over your wonderful blog and you guided me to help my daughter and now she is very well and I am following your blog since then and this respected blog helped me with my depression and changed my feeling to be positive ,happy and optimistic.
    Marina 's blog did what antidepressant and doctors could not do for myself and my daughter.

    I love you Marina

    JP
    A Thankful mother

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  29. I like this post and all the positive comments

    Blanchette

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  30. I agree with you completely. Society takes such a negative view on mental illness because of the people who use it as an excuse to escape prison, get benefits etc… Those who suffer from genuine mental illness often don't receive the help they need and aren't taken seriously because of bad representation in the press. We need to remember not to judge people on the actions of others as the majority of mentally ill people have never acted inappropriately, never mind committed a crime. Judge individuals on their actions, not on grossly inaccurate stereotypes.

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    1. Truly said .
      Those who have mental illness deserve better care, support and kindness and not judgement or blame.

      Cindrella

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  31. Let be gentle and nice to each others.
    We all can be ill with any illness at any time .
    Kudos to Marina and those who are kind to others.

    Sam Ibrahim
    Burnhamthorpe ,Mississauga

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  32. Have mercy on those who has or had any mental illness. They never hurt or harm any body. They take their illness on themselves.
    Criminal and lawless people can commit any crime when they do not use their caring heart that God has bestowed on them.

    Hamza

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  33. Greet effort Marina to support and stand by all those who happen to have rough life.
    Much appreciated .

    Ivanka

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  34. Excellent blog Marina

    Gangji

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  35. I am thankful for you and your blog that is like a light shed in the darkness and hope for the desperate .
    You are in support for all those who did suffer and you has suffered a lot yourself.
    I am sorry also for those who are tough and rough and harsh on others and I do not know why they are oblivious about the fact that one day may be themselves looking for a gentle and soft reply from others and may not get it.
    Shasha

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  36. I am thankful for your blog, attitude and altruism to reach for those who are in need of help, care and support.

    Rodica

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  37. You are helpful awesome person and I give you thumbs up'

    Juliana

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  38. You are really an angel in this world.
    I admire your courage to stand for ill people and defend them.
    Great Job.

    Kapoor

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  39. Dear Marina,

    You are truly a blessing to many people you read your blog. I applaud you for your post and even more so for putting together this blog.
    I think a lot of people in our society don't understand what mental illness is until they are personally touched by it. It is an illness like any other, and my hope is that we continue to bring awareness to the issue. Please remember that through the Divine Healer and Physician, Jesus Christ, the impossible always becomes possible. God bless you!

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  40. Thank you so very much Marina for this beautiful post! For all those suffering from a mental illness or have a loved one suffering from a mental illness I encourage you to ask for the intercessions of the Patron Saint of mental and nervous illnesses, St. Dymphna http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymphna. May her intercessions be with us all. God bless you all!

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