There has been a lot of debate about mental illness of late, more than usual because of some recent mass shootings. Most of the discussion is about providing more private and government money for mental health care, but also about actually providing said mental health care. This discussion is generally in the context, on all sides, that whether or not mass murders are mentally ill, we still need more care for the crazies among us.
However, the devil, as usual, is in the details. Who defines mentally ill? Just WHO is crazy?!?
Are “nice guys” who rape women, and in many cases kill them, crazy? Are capitalist moguls who line their own pockets with profits made off the backs of day wage laborers who live hand to mouth crazy? Are presidential candidates who want to take away all of women’s choices about our bodies mentally ill, as one of my Facebook friends suggested? Are young white men who shoot dozens of people in schools or movie theaters mentally ill? Are young black men who sell drugs on 125 Street in New York City crazy? Is the rag-tag homeless man in the subway at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue who rails against women in general and lesbians in particular mentally ill? Are U.S. soldiers, and their Commander-in-Chief, fighting illegitimate wars overseas and torturing “foreigners” crazy? Are transgender people who sell their bodies for money mentally ill? Are feminists who want equal rights in the USA crazy? Because I have a diagnosis of bipolar, am I de facto dangerous?
Here are two recent articles on the above topic to think about. They both make good points and ask a lot of good questions that I don’t have the time to write about right now.