Cartoons with mental health issues.
Mental health issues are complex and not this simply defined. A small paragraph does not neatly sum up a mental health issue, and one definitely cannot just project a disorder onto a cartoon character with personality traits that seem vaguely similar and expect that to be either informative, remotely accurate, or cute.
The diagnostic criteria for a single mental health issue include lists and conditions and even with the more thorough diagnostic information one person’s symptoms can be difficult to fit into a diagnosis.
I don’t know what was initially intended by these cartoons. If it was supposed to be for education’s sake, they’re incredibly misleading and misled. If it was supposed to be funny or cute, it’s doing so by minimizing the seriousness and the reality behind mental health disorders.
This is about as coherent as I can get right now in addressing this, because the nature both of the information presented and the simplicity of the overlay with popular characters gives me such a very negative reaction. If anyone else wants to tackle this more coherently please be my guest.
26% of Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder. This link is to the Kim Foundation, a Nebraska-based non-profit dedicated to fighting the kind of misinformation and oversimplification represented in these posters.
My take on these posters is that they are perfectly representative of another aspect of American exceptionalism: even though 1 in 4 Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder, most of them will only seek treatment as a last resort. I come from a family where serious mental disorders are pervasive: Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, etc. Even so: few of my relatives seek treatment, especially longterm counseling, which has been proven to have lasting effects on the treatment of these diseases.
After all: these are diseases, and serious ones. That’s the thing that most Americans are unwilling to admit: they see mental illness as a scam perpetuated by the media, a joke, or something that is happening to someone else. At best, it is something you don’t talk about, at worst, it is something you hide from everyone you know, until it is too late. This denial and misunderstanding, coupled with our crumbling public mental services sector, probably contributes to tragedies like the Colorado shooting.
A society where 1 in 4 of its members had a treatable disease, a disease that would erode their well-being, their ability to function, and their way of life, would be considered by most to be a society in decay, a society that doesn’t care enough about its own citizens to make sure they have the help they need, a society beset by a kind of preventable plague. Things will continue to get worse for our society until all Americans are getting the mental health support they desperately need.
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