Thursday, August 7, 2008

Globe and Mail Series: Breakdown

Dear Readers of Newspapers and Other Things,

I tried to post this from work the other day, but the text seems not to have made it, although, oddly enough, the title did.

Anyways, this post was referring to a recent series done by the Globe and Mail of Canada about the mental health crisis.

It is a fairly comprehensive series that outlines many of the issues that relate to problems of mental health.

Unfortunately, the publications of the Globe fell victim to the same tendencies of many other publications of this nature: It outline the problems, but it doesn't explain what is currently being done. Also, the Globe tended to combine very different forms of health problems under one umbrella of "mental illness," often using those words in their headlines, despite the fact that the article spoke about only one specific condition.

Everyone with a "mental illness" understands that problems of mental health a pretty specific and don't fit neatly under one catch-all umbrella. Depression is not schizophrenia, is not bi-polar, is not anxiety, and so on. Every condition has its own profile, its own precipitating factors, its own treatment, its own course for recovery, each has its own outcome, and sadly each has its own brand of stigma/discrimination.

Frankly in all of that great reporting, I had serious problems with the glomming together of the variety of mental health conditions. Throwing all of these health conditions into the same pot doesn't allow us to tease out the idiosyncratic issues related to the them. For example, we are unlikely to think that someone with depression is capable of murder, but we easily make this kind of association when we hear that a person has a diagnosis of schizophrenia (even though these associations aren't correct). I think we need to differentiate in our writing, so that we

Anyways, here is the link to the Globe series: Breakdown: Canada's Mental Health Crisis.

Keep up the good work, Globe!

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