Stigma - The Coping Mechanism of Society.

by Sarah Myles

Our society has a mental illness.

Somewhere in the world, someone commits a heinous, horrific crime. It hits the media. Predictably, often before the culprit has even seen a doctor, assumptions are made about their mental health. Medical terminology is bandied about, slang terms are used in throwaway remarks – all as people instinctively try to externalise what has happened. Reduce it to something easily identifiable as different, so it doesn’t have to be looked at. It is society’s own coping mechanism, and it is achieved through stigmatising language.

When James Holmes walked into a Colorado cinema screening of a Batman film on 20th July 2012 and killed 12 people, injuring 58, he had barely been taken into custody before he was declared by a Police Commissioner to be “clearly a deranged individual”. Traumatised eye-witnesses and emergency responders repeatedly pointed to his appearance as an indication of his crazed state – he wore a gas mask, body armour and red hair dye. He was described as looking monstrous. Obviously, this man is a dangerous Batman-obsessive. Obviously, he’s not like the rest of society. He’s different, wrong, defective in some way.

It is human nature to look for reason and explanation – particularly following a traumatic experience. It’s how people process thoughts and feelings. If somebody has a clear motivation for a crime – be it revenge, money, passion, religious or political zealotry – society can accept it with greater ease. People can point to a particular act or event and say “That’s why”, and though it may be tragic and pointless, that reasoning allows communities to sleep better in their beds.

When someone has no clear or apparent motivation, how does society make itself feel better about their terrible actions? The criminal is demonised into something ‘other’. Something outside of the ‘norm’. The media rifles through their lives looking for that one thing it can point to and say “That’s why”. And it’s almost always a mental health problem.

The difficulty here is that, the media is almost always proved right. In those cases, there will almost certainly be some kind of evidence of mental health problems in their history, because mental health problems have contributed to their actions. But so have lots of other factors, which society doesn’t want to look at.

 Don’t about 1 in 4 of us also have evidence of mental health problems in our history? The language and assumptions used in these situations are problematic for those suffering from mental illness, because it creates an association with a heinous act. Anders Breivik of Norway murdered 77 people on 20th July 2011. His psychiatric analysis was controversial and flawed, but though he was ultimately declared legally sane (having the ability to distinguish right from wrong), Professor of Psychiatry Ulrik Fredrik Malt found him to suffer from several personality disorders and possibly paranoid psychosis. Well, global media, that’s not entirely dissimilar to me. Does that mean I am capable of mass murder? Of course not - because the mental health problems experienced by Anders Breivik are only one factor contributing to his actions. The whole of his human experience led him to that terrible day, and that is entirely unique to him. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t make a catchy headline, or memorable soundbite, so according to the media’s manipulation of stigmatising language, if Anders Breivik has to sit in the ‘different’ section of society, I guess I have to go sit there with him.

And James Holmes – he isn’t like everybody else, right? He was, allegedly, in costume – as was half the audience he attacked. He is a huge fan of Batman – as was everyone in that cinema, attending a midnight screening. He was armed with weapons that he obtained legally – because, in the United States of America, people staunchly defend their “right to bear arms”. How many people in that cinema owned firearms, albeit left them at home? He had been a student at the University of Colorado – as had many people present. He had sought help for an unspecified mental health problem in the months prior to his crime, and we know that, statistically, several of the audience members in the cinema that night would also have had experience of mental health problems.

But the media doesn’t focus on the similarities, because that would shatter the careful picture they painstakingly paint to allow society to cope. And that way lies chaos.

Comments

Hi, I wanted to write and ask if you could help me with some questions about blooging. I am a bit afraid of writing about agencies such as advocacy agencies and the church that reject me because of an overwhelming anxiety disorder. I would want to support the blog with written evidence. Thank you

Hi there! Sorry to hear about your anxiety.

I have a public email address: sjmyles79@gmail.com which you're welcome to use. I'm certainly no expert, but I'm happy to help where I can. wink

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Myles

Yes! Fіnally someone writes about cbd Fⅼorida store. Here is my webloɡ :: cbd oil dispensary
I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this website. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal blog now ;) Also visit my web blog - thiet ke website
There's certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you have made. My weblog ... http://planet-nomads-wiki.com/index.php?title=%E5%88%A9%E7%94%A8%E8%80%85:TwylaEstrella41
Sarah it is true that we like to distance ourselves from heinous acts & in the process label the perpetrator as a mental patient(where it is true).Yes many of us do have mental issues but we do hold them in check,don't we?There is a vital difference between those who give in & those who don't. It is the duty of those near to the person ,to persuade him to seek help.Holmes was doing this but obviously it was not enough for him. You may like to read my views on social stigma of mental patients http://jeeteraho.blogspot.in/2012/03/technology-has-made-life-very-easy.html

Hi, Yes I absolutely agree - that's the way it works from the point of view of the person suffering a mental illness. My post is discussing the attitudes of wider society that don't have personal experience of mental ill health, and their broad generalisations and assumptions based on lack of knowledge and understanding. People's natural tendency to deal with life by focussing on difference rather than similarity and how the media perpeutates that - all of which can be eased by better communication and increased awareness.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Myles

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to surf to my web site :: Office removals brighton
Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others such as you helped me. Also visit my website ... 먹튀검증 토토
My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated! my web blog; thiet ke quan tra sua tron goi
Very nice blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Continue the good work! Review my weblog: minecraft
Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate? my website; sports car transport companies
There is definately a great deal to find out about this topic. I love all of the points you have made. Feel free to surf to my web blog :: minecraft
Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any suggestions? Here is my blog post ... minecraft
Im so tired! Penge ng COPING MECHANISM!!!!!!!
COPING MECHANISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!
Related Literature !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -Me, Myself && I
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think that you should publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not discuss these topics. To the next! Many thanks!! Here is my site - minecraft
Ahaa, its pleasant conversation regarding this article at this place at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here. Have a look at my web page :: national removal companies
bookmarked!!, I like your website! My homepage minecraft
You need to take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites on the internet. I'm going to highly recommend this website! Feel free to visit my blog - insured movers
Woah! I'm really loving the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's very difficult to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and appearance. I must say that you've done a great job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Opera. Outstanding Blog! Feel free to visit my web blog - removals and movers
Ms. Sarah Myles, Do you have an article regarding the Difference of coping mechanism in different religions?

Not at the current time, but that would certainly a fascinating avenue to pursue in future.

Thank you for reading.

Sarah Myles

Hi there, this weekend is good in support of me, for the reason that this time i am reading this great informative post here at my residence. my website ... development (Gwendolyn)
I believe this is among the so much important info for me. And i'm satisfied reading your article. But want to statement on some basic issues, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is in point of fact nice : D. Good process, cheers My site ... https://standbysecurity.com.au
Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is excellent, let alone the content! Also visit my homepage machine learning projects
Remarkable! Its truly awesome piece of writing, I have got much clear idea regarding from this paragraph. Also visit my site ... moving companies orange county ca
My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated! Also visit my web page; thiet ke quan tra sua tron goi
Hmm it apρears lіқe youг blog ate my first comment (it was extгemely long) so I guеss I'll just sum it up what I sᥙbmitted and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying yοur blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I'm ѕtill new to tһe whole thіng. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers? I'd genuinely appreciate it. Feel free to visit my homepage: Florida veteran benefits
I like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys I've incorporated you guys to my blogroll. Feel free to visit my web site :: software kya hai
Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I'm thinking about setting up my own but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks Here is my webpage ... contemporary table lamps
With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I've either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being stolen? I'd truly appreciate it.
Hi there, this weekend is good in support of me, for the reason that this time i am reading this great informative post here at my residence. Take a look at my blog post: development (Gwendolyn)
Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated. my blog post; Office removals brighton
whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your posts. Stay up the great work! You already know, lots of people are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly. Also visit my blog post ... minecraft
Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Many thanks! Take a look at my web blog - moving companies in sarasota fl
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think that you should publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not discuss these topics. To the next! Many thanks!! Visit my web site :: minecraft
Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd like to shoot you an email. I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time. my blog post ... 먹튀검증 추천
There is definately a great deal to find out about this topic. I love all of the points you have made. Have a look at my web page ... minecraft
I liҝe it ѡhеn foⅼks come together and share ideas. Great site, ѕtick wіth it! Review my homepage: heraldpublicist.com
Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept Feel free to visit my weblog; imp source affordable search
Thanks , I have recently been searching for information about this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I've found out till now. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply? my homepage: SMS Fuzion
yo its post very cool googles https://google.com/
Wonderful Ьeat ! I wish to apprentіce while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. Ӏ had been tiny bit acquainted of this yoսr broadcast offereԁ bright clear idea Also visit my web-site cbd Florida store
whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your posts. Stay up the great work! You already know, lots of people are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly. my web blog minecraft
I have read so many posts regarding the blogger lovers but this article is actually a good article, keep it up. Review my homepage :: sarasota moving companies
Howdy! This poѕt couldn't be written any better! ᒪooking at tһіѕ post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept tɑlking about this. I'll send this post to him. Pretty sure he'll have a go᧐d read. Thank you for sharing! Feel free to visit my web-site :: heraldpublicist.com
First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I've had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Many thanks! Look at my webpage; Ideal workout time
hello its post very cool googles https://google.com/

Post new comment