The Mental Illness Dilemna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Mental Illness Dilemna
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Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:51am

Advocates for the mentally ill are faced with a deep dilemma each time extreme and deadly crimes are perpetrated by those with a mental illness. Obviously, such acts are not sane or normal; it beggars common sense to suggest that a person who is thinking straight would choose to kill or wound dozens of strangers. And yet most mentally ill people — even those with conditions that have been linked to violence, such as addictions and schizophrenia — are no threat to anyone other than themselves.

[continued]

For the mentally ill, who might be seen as canaries in this coal mine, stigma serves to wall them off from the social support and medical care that are necessary to spur recovery and prevent illness from leading to tragedy. As a society, we need to understand that risk does not equal destiny — and that believing it does is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease or even to appreciate its association with violence, but to view people with schizophrenia as hopeless can in some cases worsen their course unnecessarily.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/31/mass-murder-and-mental-illness-the-interplay-of-stigma-culture-and-disease/?iid=hl-article-mostpop1#ixzz22J3U2hHn

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 10:31am
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 2:34pm

Honestly, I think they should. Once upon a time schooling was simply for learning to read, write and add. In today's world, that is the tip of the iceberg in terms of skills one needs to manage our society. I think "resilience" should be taught - but I believe that because of its link to "mental illness", many parents would view it as a philosophy, not as an essential skill. KWIM?

I have to throw another wrench in here. Again, just food for thought here ......

One, life skills are taught in school and to some degree this includes being resilient. If children's social skills are indicating they are not resilient or the do not handle stress well, I do believe many schools have counselors on staff to further help children. However, since i believe being resilient encompasses more then just one skill or attribute, it would be very difficult for a class on the subject to have a huge impact on the individual. Plus, the child would have to have the ability to recall and utilize information at a time when it is needed. Or, as stated, the cooperation of the parent.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 2:40pm
jamblessedthree wrote:

I think a lot of life skills are already taught in schools, They just don't call it that... Kids are told to wait their turn and cooperate with others, Kids have to wait for their neighbor to finish even if they've soared through a test, There are so many physical differences and learning differences in schools, etc.. The funny thing is there are parents that are going to pull their kids from schools for these very reasons too but that's not the school's problem.

I agree.  There are many schools using character education programs as part of the daily routine.  I know it's important to remind students to keep trying, to see obstacles or setbacks as temporary, to talk through problems that could be difficult or frightening.  Much of this is done in the form of literature studies - as early as pre-kindergarten, but continuing through high school English!

Much of the character analysis and discussion of protagonists and antagonists encourages children to identify with characters who demonstrate desirable qualities.  

My personal experience is that resilience is taught more naturally in schools with diverse populations - diverse financially, racially, religiously, linguistically and ability-wise.  Living with people who's challenges are different than your helps people, imo, to realize they can get through the challenges that face them.  It's difficult to justify whining about the scrape you got in gym when the kid next to you is in a wheel chair.  It's tough to complain that your mom confiscated your iPhone when the kid next to you is wearing his brother's sneakers from last year.  How do you complain that reading a chapter is tiring when the other kid just learned to speak your language this year?  

Back to the original resilience post - that kids are resilient when it comes to things like divorce - I agree with that in the sense that we think they will fall apart, and most of them, instead, learn from it and become stronger.  I think that's true of adults too.  Not that it's good for them, but we, as human beings, are survivors.  For someone with mental illness, that ability may or may not be present.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 2:57pm

There's a difference between saying it can be taught and has to be taught. It has to be taught to those who, for whatever reason, are not resilient enough and it interferes with their daily life or mental health.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:05pm

 

Oh my goodness. "Character education"? and it flies in public schools? I'm surprised.

I suppose there could be some overlap between "character education" and "building resilience", but they strike me as quite different concepts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:07pm

it would be very difficult for a class on the [resilience] to have a huge impact on the individual.

I do not see why it would be that different than teaching most other subjects.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:11pm

I found this link on "Character Education". It sums up what I would have thought character education is. There is little overlap with what I think resilience is.

http://www.sage.edu/centers/charactered/about/faqs/

Character Education aims to encourage and foster the positive character and behavioral traits of responsibility, civility, respect, honesty, fairness, trustworthiness and citizenship in students throughout the educational spectrum.

What do they teach in schools?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:16pm

I get that knowing the parents behaviors influences the diagnostic procedure. A very disorganized parent might teach a child to be disorganized. That disorganization could be learned or it could be ADHD. If it is learned, then there is no mental illness. If it is one of many common symptoms of ADHD, then there is a diagnosis. However, if the child has ADHD and has the symptom, disorganization, then there is no point in figuring out what the parent did to cause ADHDsymptoms  including disorganization.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:20pm

I am not familiar with the Vanderbilt Scale, does this sum it up OK?

The Vanderbilt ADHD Rating Scale-Parent (VADPRS) is a reliable, cost-effective assessment for ADHD in clinical and research settings for children 6-12.

The VADPRS has a 55 item rating scale and evaluates for ADHD and other co-morbid conditions. It takes 10 minutes or less to complete.

The VADPRS has two components: symptom assessment and impairment of performance at home, in school, and in social settings.

The automated feedback report provides instant scoring and item analysis.

The VADPRS is widely used by healthcare professionals to screen for symptoms of ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and anxiety and depression in children.

It is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 3:25pm

Here's the one that's been used in my district:

http://charactercounts.org/sixpillars.html

T rustworthiness
R espect
R esponsibility
F airness
C aring
C itizenship 

I guess you're right - it is not the same as resilience.  I'm not sure I'm understanding the definition of resilience that is being used in the context of this conversation.  I was thinking of the ability to get through difficult things or bounce back from setbacks.  Just a rough definition, certainly not a clinical one.

I know as a teacher I'm often guiding students to do that.  For example, addressing someone saying or doing something hurtful: If someone upset you, lets think about what that means:  Is what the person says true?  Does it change who you are?  Do you believe that about yourself?  If not, you need to be your own support.  

If someone is struggling in school, pointing out their own progress rather than comparing themselves to students that academics come easy for so they don't give up.

Letting them know that many things that are worth doing are difficult.  Talking about family issues.  I've had students write about their father moving back to their native country, living with a sibling with profound autism, having a mother the student believes doesn't love them, etc.  The twin who gets into fights to defends his brother who is hanging with the "wrong crowd".  The student that believes that everyone is against him and nothing is his fault.  How do you take responsibility?  The child who cries everytime a particular "friend" excludes him yet doesn't realize he can choose better friends.  

Sometimes I think I'm playing amateur therapist as much as I'm teaching!  Is it part of the  normal curriculum? No, but to me it's about building a community within the classroom and developing the character of my students which will benefit them way more in the long run than learning the circumference of a circle, lol!

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