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Mental Health Stigma - Bipolar Vida

This morning on the Today Show, I saw a segment on a mental health advocate, Kevin Breel. I learned that, as a young adult, he too suffered from depression. He became a mental health advocate, and today he has become especially inspirational and popular, and has even given a TED talk (Trip from Mental Illness to Mental Health Advocacy). Like so many of us, Kevin Breel masked his depression. By hearing his story, I began thinking about how, even in our day and age, the stigma surrounding mental illness is still highly prevalent, and this is not acceptable.
On Monday, Aaron Alexis went on a shooting spree in a Navy yard in Washington D.C. So far, we know that he killed 12 people and wounded 8 others, and the rampage ended with the death of Alexis. While watching the news coverage, all I heard about was Alexis' mental health history and how he could have “slipped through the system.” Why is our mental health system always to blame? Why is it that many people automatically turn to the perpetrator's mental health as the only explanation to these heinous crimes? Are we just looking for someone or something to blame? Could it be that this person is just mean or evil? He could have had a perfectly healthy mind.
I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 on October 6, 2006. I remember the date like it’s my birthday. It’s the day my whole world collapsed and I became a person I didn’t recognize. I was branded, disgraced and humiliated (Living With Mental Illness and Self-Stigma). It was I who took in the online questionnaire to my psychiatrist, hoping that I was wrong.
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