Serious Mental Illness vs Mental Illness

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about “serious mental illness” or the “seriously mentally ill”, both in legislation and in posts.  I have a real problem with this.  I know I’m going to upset a few people with my post and for that I’m sorry, but as I have always said “Everyone is entitled to their opinion”. (even ones I don’t agree with)  

Anyway, in my opinion there should be no distinction between a serious mental illness and a mental illness…all mental illnesses are serious!  Some lucky people are able to go into a sort of remission for a time, but even that doesn’t last forever.  So when you start to make laws for only the “seriously mental ill”, I begin to worry.  You are leaving out a vast majority of the mental illness community and who is to determine just who is seriously mentally ill and who is not.  Dividing us out like that isn’t going to solve anything.  It’s not going to stop the violence (of which we, the mental illness community, only account for 1% nationwide).  It’s not going to increase the amount of people seeking help.  And it certainly won’t do anything to stop this pervasive stigma.  We, all of us in the mental illness community, have the same chances of exhibiting more serious symptoms of our illnesses.  You can’t single out part of this community and hope the problem will go away.  It won’t.  

This is why it is so vitally important the we, as a mental illness community, come together to be one voice, to be heard.  If we don’t do it, then true, meaningful legislation will not be achieved.  We have to be brought to the “table” so to speak with legislators.  We cannot let legislation be created out of fear and miseducation.

Okay, so I may not make any friends with this post, but this is how I feel.  Just as I am entitled to feel this way, you are entitled to disagree.  If there are to be discussions on this post, please let’s keep them respectful. 

Thank you!

4 thoughts on “Serious Mental Illness vs Mental Illness

  1. I think the distinction between mental illness and serious mental illness has to do with persistency of the illness and the possibility for relapse and/or recurrence. With the expansive nature of the DSM 5 not all mental disorders are created equal. But I do agree with you that it waters down the whole mental illness movement by dividing it. Also it is confusing to the general public to call some mental illnesses serious. Just a few thoughts…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. I also had one other thought. When it comes to funding (or creating laws around them) cancer or diabetes, does anyone make a distinction between “serious cancer” or “serious diabetes”? No, it’s all considered equal for those purposes. We at least deserve the same.


  2. The only reason I can see that a distinction is being made is to pave the way for institutionalisation of people classed as seriously mentally ill or to justify taking a way their rights etc. Mental illness is serious regardless of the severity of how the symptoms present from person to person and from time to time.
    What happens if a person is going to a significantly difficult time where their mental illness presents with greater intensity than normal? Do they then get classed as seriously mentally ill? What happens if things go back to normal and the person is not having such a difficult time? Do they retain the class of seriously mentally ill or do they just become mentally ill again.
    Seriously, what a completely stupid concept.

    Liked by 2 people

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