To this vein, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression,
anxiety, autism, cognitive disorder, dyslexia, substance abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder
are just few off a long list of “mental illnesses” that are judged incorrectly.
Click HERE to watch the episode.
Stereotypes are impregnable misjudgments entrenched by ignorance in society. To this vein, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, autism, cognitive disorder, dyslexia, substance abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder are just a few off a long list of “mental illnesses” that are judged incorrectly.
Racial discrimination, chauvinism, gender disparity, homophobia and the stigmas related to mental illness continue to be the most branded statuses in schools, workplaces, political arenas and even the media. For example, in the beginning of this Law and Order episode, it was easy to assume that Jamie was raped because of her gender which is labeled as a target for misogyny, chauvinism or unfairness.
DO THE MEDIA PROMOTE MISCONCEPTIONS ON MENTAL ILLNESS
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario, the media describes people with mental illness as “violent, dangerous or unpredictable”. They cite studies that show “the media plays a key role in shaping public opinions about mental health illnesses” wherein this stereotype is “used to justify bullying” or to deny “housing, health insurance or even jobs” from people. Some movies and books have done the same and as a result, people with mental illness suffer low self-esteem and difficulty making friends.
In an attempt to hide their illness from a disconcerting public many do not seek treatment. In the States, more or fewer criminals have used mental illness as a defense against a criminal conviction. Needless to say, the media has capitalized on those stories and unwittingly spread the misconception.
Of course, some remnants of stereotype still exist.
On the other hand, in Canada, Europe, Australia and the United States, the press has a degree of objectivity that is scarce in other countries.”
To note, the media has evolved in recent decades. Newspapers, movies, television and books no longer substantiate pigeonholes about race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion or mental illness. Modern society has implemented groundbreaking reforms that avert the movies, books or the media from being judicious against race, gender, sexual creed or religious belief. Of course, some remnants of stereotype still exist.
On the other hand, in Canada, Europe, Australia and the United States, the press has a degree of objectivity that is scarce in other countries. That said, the media does have a sturdy influence on the public’s decision-making process. All media reports are repetitive and feature “experts” with “statistics” which the public, educators, corporations and other professionals accept. They all use time sensitive ads to install new ideas.
SHOULD JAMIE BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR HER ACTIONS?
In my opinion, Jamie should not be charged criminally but Cameron and Danny should be exonerated. Jamie had the presence of mind to estimate her actions while doing them. Therefore, she should be held responsible to a certain degree. New protective factors should be provided to assist with her treatment.
Owning up to the family of the victim she killed, the people she injured and realizing the impact her allegation had on Danny and Cameron should be part of her treatment and recovery. Mental illness should not be used to excuse her from remorse. She should be given the opportunity to show that, under a normal circumstance, she would have done the right thing.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS IN JAMIE’S BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODEL?
Jamie’s biopsychosocial model: biologically, she was bipolar as the doctor prescribed mood stabilizers. Once she stopped taking her meds her mental health would deteriorate. However, the meds altered her natural behavior by making her passive and dull. Socially she got along with some of her peers but did not fit in her school environment. Her family was middle class, they were often absent from her life. Psychologically, she had low self-esteem, was unable to cope under peer pressure and she had very little social skills.
This caused her to hide her condition so she would not be mocked or ostracized.”
The first risk factor for Jamie was her environment. She wanted to wait for love but her environment was polluted with impassive sex and peer pressure. This is what pushed her to change her mind. Furthermore, other students at her school all had a stigma against people with mental illness.
This caused her to hide her condition so she would not be mocked or ostracized. The next risk factor was her parent’s absence. As musicians, they traveled often. After she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, one of them was supposed to supervise her. Her parents were also unaware of her obsession with Derek Lord and they had no idea of her crush on Trevor Olson. She lacked parental oversight.
They cite studies that show “the media plays a key role in shaping public opinions about
mental health illnesses” wherein this stereotype is “used to justify bullying” or to deny “housing, health insurance or even jobs” from people.”
If her parents had not left, she would have taken her medication and never “hooked up” in the bathroom stall. There would be no accusation of rape, any attempted suicide or vehicular manslaughter. She did not have the support system that was needed to enable her to maintain discipline. Some people are resilient and can overcome life’s challenges on their own but many are not; they need support.
Jamie’s only protective factor was her best friend Leslie who supported her and pointed detectives in the right direction. The detective (Olivia) was also supportive when everyone wanted to throw Jamie under the bus. For the DA, Jamie reminded her of her schizophrenic ex-fiance who was never saved.
WHY IS MENTAL ILLNESS TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER DISEASES?
Demonic Possession: According to Psychology Today, mental illness is viewed differently from other illnesses because “earlier beliefs about the causes were linked to demonic or spirit possession”. In the early days of Judaism, Christianity and even Islam, mental illness was often mistaken as demonic possession. Casting out demons is very different from mental illness. This would explain negative reactions such as withdrawing from victims, fear, and discrimination against people believed to be possessed by demons.
Therefore, she should be held responsible to a certain degree. New protective factors should be provided to assist with her treatment.”
Erratic Violent Behavior: Mental illness can also be treated differently from other illnesses because of the myth that mental health patients are violent. Since the illness is perceived to affect the mind, fear of erratic behavior is common among people especially when the media perpetuates cases of violent crimes committed by “the mentally ill”. Many scientists believe mental illnesses are neurotic disorders.
Blaming the Patient: Unlike heart disease or Alzheimer for example, in cases that stem from substance abuse, like drug addiction and alcoholism, family members, society, and even the patient may blame the patient for causing their symptoms by not stopping to take the drugs or alcohol. Therefore the logic is they deserve the effects and no assistance or consideration should be given to them.
EFFECTS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESS:
- Difficulty finding a place to live or a community to live in.
- Difficulty finding employment.
- Difficulty finding romantic partners to start a relationship.
- Difficulty finding a school or college to attend.
- Difficulty finding insurance.
- Not being able to fully participate in the community.
- Not being able to immigrate or relocate to another country.
CONTROVERSIAL MEDICINAL TREATMENTS, CELEBRITY INFLUENCE & HUMAN RIGHTS
TREATMENT CHOICE: (a) According to Citizens Commission on Human Rights, psychiatric treatment can cause “restlessness, hallucinations, excessive urination, confusion, lethargy, dizziness, fainting, loss of coordination, slow thinking etc”. In the film, Jamie’s medication had a potential to impair liver function when there were no definite medical tests to diagnose her bipolar disorder. The fact that she did not have a history of violent behavior prior to taking the meds was also problematic to the treatment.
(b) I place a high value on talent. I believe there are people who were born with special abilities that cannot be taught. In the film, Derek Lord’s talent was in music entertainment; not psychiatry. He was biased against psychiatry. Celebrities have a responsibility to call controversial laws, culture, systems and behaviors to question. They have the popularity that draws global attention. Lord, was knowledgeable about the diagnosis of mental illness, abusive methods of treatment and the side effects of toxic medications. Ironically, considering the other victims, he was mistaken by supporting Jamie to not be blamed for her crimes.
The fact that she did not have a history of violent behavior prior to taking the meds was also problematic to the treatment.”
PUBLIC SAFETY: (a) When Jamie decided to commit suicide she crashed her car into a crowd of pedestrians injuring six people and killing a 14-year-old girl (Elena Ramirez). It was then revealed that she is bipolar but her school psychiatrist was unaware of this. Jamie hid her mental illness from the school to steer clear of stigma but in doing so she endangered the public and the school she attended. (b) There was also misogyny; deviant sex behavior and chauvinism in her school and in this equilibrium hung the life of a 14-year-old girl, the future of two promising students and the safety of six pedestrians.
Because people with the serious mental disorder may harm others when they act out, it is important for the public to be aware of their illness. However, when the public becomes aware it is their responsibility also to never discriminate or stigmatize the mentally ill. (c) In the film, psychiatry itself was brought under the microscope. How to diagnose? How to treat? Side effects of medications etc. Derek Lord’s argument that psychiatry is a shot in the dark posed a serious question for his fans that were mostly teens. This was also a public safety issue. Since Jamie was a minor, treating her with “toxic medications” was even more controversial.
It seeks reform by giving evidence to legislative bodies and to publicly expose psychiatric abuse,
as well as to use the media, law enforcement and public officials to elevate the respect of human rights and dignity of the mentally ill.”
HUMAN RIGHTS: The underlying theme in this story is human rights and dignity of the mentally ill. It talks about psychiatric violations and restructuring the field of mental healing giving patients the right to refuse any kind of treatment based on the potentially toxic nature of the medications used to treat the illness.
It seeks reform by giving evidence to legislative bodies and to publicly expose psychiatric abuse, as well as to use the media, law enforcement, and public officials to elevate the respect of human rights and dignity of the mentally ill. Olivia referred to Jamie as a victim when addressing Carmen’s father who considered his son “a good kid” who was seduced by a girl with white privilege. Olivia believed Jamie had PTSD after the bathroom incident. Mental illness does not equal the loss of human rights.
How would the mentally ill majority treat the sane minority? What would the laws be about when that society puts power in the hands of the majority?”
The presumption is that we live in a civilized society with people who are sane but however, there are a few who suffer from mental illness. To this effect, we have stigmatized them and developed various kinds of treatments to cure or stabilize their “illness”. What if it was the other way around? What if the society comprised of people who are mentally unsteady and a few people were sane? How would the mentally ill majority treat the sane minority? What would the laws be about when that society puts power in the hands of the majority?
These days, it is impossible to tell who is sane from who is mentally insane. The popular mentality on the subject is rigged with all sorts of biases. Those biases can be substantiated by the violent behavior of people who claim to have a mental disorder. Anyone can accuse another person of being crazy!
I believe, depending on the severity, all patients should have bedside assistance available to them to help them take medications and provide am and pm care. Those who are alert and ambulatory should decide if they want any medication or if they do not. Determining a person’s level of alertness should depend on if they know their name, recognize family and friends, play a role in society (school, work, recreation, dating, creativity etc.), recognize authority, have a history of violence, are current on the date and time, able to come and go safely or take care of their basic hygiene? If yes, such a person should not be forced to take any kind of medications for any reason.
It should be their choice from that point. However, the public should be made aware of a person with a serious mental illness who have exercised their human rights by refusing treatment. People with mental diseases should be encouraged to take safe precautions, avoid risk factors and be monitored by an expert. This way the public does not overreact to the symptoms of their illness. There should be a clear line drawn between mental illness and demonic possession.
Under the Mental Health Act, Bill 68 controls the unwilling admission of persons to a psychiatric sanitarium. This law is proposed to give psychiatric treatment outside of a psychiatric facility. Bill 68 stipulates that “the purpose of a community treatment is to give a person who suffers from a serious mental disorder a community-based treatment plan and supervision that is less restrictive than detention in a psychiatric facility”. The aim is to treat patients while being mindful that after their condition is “stabilized”, after being discharged from the hospital, the patient may be exposed to risk factors, relapse and have to be readmitted in a mental facility. There should be a continuous treatment course.
A neighbor, family member or friend may determine a person to be dangerous to their self or others therefore the said person may be forcefully admitted into a mental institution.”
This law allows three decisive ways for individuals to be committed to a psychiatric sanitarium for at least 72 hours. The “Form” system involves: (a) A person who behaves contrary to the social norm, regardless of the reason, may grant police the option to commit them to a mental health facility. (b) A neighbor, family member or friend may determine a person to be dangerous to their self or others, therefore, the said person may be forcefully admitted into a mental institution.
Some problems this law pose is for sane people to be admitted to a mental institution because their behavior is different or they are misunderstood by someone who disagrees with their lifestyle, religion or culture. (c) The third and most obvious forming is a list of macho behaviors that corresponds with a “physician orders assessment”. This law has a 50/50 chance to help or harm individuals. In the end, mental illness is a subject that does not get enough attention.
Citizen’s Commissions on Human Rights / Date: August 9, 2015
Mental Health Act of Ontario Date: August 9, 2015
The Canadian Mental Health Association / Date: August 9, 2015
Psychology Today / Date: August 9, 2015