What Grinds My Gears

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

You wanna know what grinds my gears? Mental illness mislabeling. This may seem like a petty issue, but such mislabeling abets the mental illness stigma that exists today, which is largely due to ignorance of mental illness.

We all have that one eccentric friend who likes to keep their room unnecessarily clean. It is fine to make jokes about it and poke fun, but it is not okay to say, “Oh my gosh, you’re so OCD.” Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a serious mental illness and when the term is misused, it propagates a stigma that keeps Americans misinformed about the reality of mental illness.

“The stereotyping of mental illness is both detrimental to the people who suffer from it as well as the societal perception of mental disorders,” said Sabrina Woods, 12. “And it’s even worse that it happens as often as it does.”

This misuse includes the word “depressed.” Just because someone is very sad does not mean they are clinically depressed. Clinical depression is a very real mental illness from which 3-5% of people across the world suffer. Claiming that someone is clinically depressed when they are only sad also contributes to the public ignorance of mental disorders.

When mental disorders are misunderstood and stereotypes are propagated, people with mental illness are shunned and forced to deal with prejudice that is detrimental to their well being.

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