Let us not confuse mentally ill with homicidal.
I think we can agree that all people who are homicidal are mentally ill. The fact that some people feel it is necessary to express their frustrations with life by killing others is most certainly proof that they are not well adjusted. Being well adjusted is a hallmark of mental health. How much do you fit in? How well can you take care of yourself? If you can get along with others, you are well adjusted.
I’ve never understood the idea of trying to determine if a murderer is sane or not. If you kill anyone for any reason other than self-defense, you aren’t sane, it would seem to me.
Now, let’s shift gears for a moment. This is important. All people who are mentally ill are not homicidal. To have a mental health diagnosis does not mean that you are a murderer. It does not mean that you have to live in a group home. It does not mean that you are a danger to anybody.
It is the same as having a diagnosis of diabetes or of high cholesterol. It is something you live with and deal with.
The media must stop bandying about the phrase “mentally ill” every time someone does something horrific enough to warrant being on the news. They might be mentally ill. One in four people are. But the media is the media – not trained mental health professionals. They are not qualified to make an assessment on the mental state of anyone.
How much of the bad press that mentally ill people are getting is why there are so many mentally ill people who are not well adjusted? Who would want to go get help with their mental health problems if they are going to immediately tagged as being homicidal? There is a huge stigma to being mentally ill, already. It is often seen as a lack of willpower or a character flaw. Add the mistaken idea of homicidal in the mix and no wonder people won’t take care of this problem.
Mental health is treatable. You can live a long and productive and happy life and have a mental illness. Exercise helps. Eating well helps. Actually, I can’t think of anything that isn’t helped by exercise and eating well, but mental health is high on the list. If you want to start feeling bad, lay around all day eating junk food. Multiply that by a month and you’ll really be in a funk. Start taking care of yourself and you’ll see a difference not only in your body but in your mood.
How much of our mental health issues in this country are from people not being taught that it is OK for them to speak up for themselves? And if one in four people really are mentally ill, as the saying goes, then it really isn’t that unusual at all. Perhaps “mentally ill” is the new normal.