Mental illness can be scary, but people struggling with it shouldn’t be.
The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, John Quidor (1858)
Source: Public Domain
“Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered, long settled retreats; but are trampled under foot, by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our country places.” —The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving
Working on an inpatient ward that focuses on the treatment of schizophrenia
and other psychotic disorders for the past decade, I routinely tell each cycle of medical students who start working with me that one of my main goals
for them, if not the
main goal, is that they come away feeling less scared of people with serious mental illness. I acknowledge that, unless we have some personal experience with mental illness, most of us are
scared when we first meet patients in a psychiatric
hospital. And finally, I tell them, the reason that we’re scared is that we watch too much television.