Attitudes to mental illness 50 years ago were undoubtedly crude and prejudicial, and many patients with treatable problems were denied help that would have transformed their lives because they stayed silent. But our assessment of history should be nuanced. It is also the case that some of the attitudes that once prevailed are likely to have been protective to the mental health of many, and should not be entirely jettisoned.
Oh..? A very strange thing to read in the ‘Guardian’!
Please, do give examples!
These include the importance (and expectation) of self-reliance, of getting on with life, of not becoming too self-absorbed or taking ourselves too seriously; and a resistance to imposing demands on a finite healthcare system out of recognition that there are others whose needs are greater. Many who remained well in such a culture would be rapidly and unhelpfully medicalised if they lived in our society today.
If we characterise every unpleasant aspect of human existence as mental illness, we set ourselves up for a fall.
*sharp intake of breath*
One of the things that is most protective to mental health is not to spend too much of our lives consciously obsessing about it.
Congratulations on an excellent article! I suspect you’ll never write another. Especially when the comments – yes, they are allowed! – are analysed and the moderators realise how many people agree…