In short (like, really short), “Silver Linings Playbook” is a romantic comedy infused with drama. It’s your typical boy-meets-girl love story, yet at the same time, it’s not. Why? Because it’s more than just another romantic comedy.
The award-winning film takes on mental illness and the stigmas that surround it. We took a page outta the playbook and debunked 5 common myths around mental illness – check them out below.
1. Mental illness and mental disability are the same thing.
Reality: Mental illness (or mental disorder) refers to a medical condition that disturbs a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Conversely, a person with a mental disability (or intellectual disability) has below-average intellectual functioning and typically has impaired social functioning.
2. People with mental illnesses are simply “crazy.”
Reality: All of us have neurotransmitters (or chemicals) in our brains that act as messengers, allowing different areas of the brain and the body to communicate. When there is a disturbance (or chemical imbalance) in the brain, the communication system can be disrupted. Some mental illnesses are a result of such disturbances. Besides, there’s no such thing as “normal,” so how could we define “crazy?” We’re all a little different and weird!
3. People with severe mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.
Reality: Generally speaking, people with mental illnesses are not dangerous. In situations where violence does occur, the incident is usually the result of outside stimuli (i.e. feeling threatened or use of alcohol and/or drugs).
4. Depression is simply a “mood” that can be turned on or off. People who are clinically depressed can “snap out of it.”
Reality: Depression is a neurological disorder that typically requires therapy and medication (regardless of how hard a person “wills” the feeling to go away).
5. People with mental illnesses simply need the right medication to cure their disorder.
Reality: In most cases, treatment for mental illness requires not only the right medicine but also therapy. In “Silver Linings Playbook,” Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) needed both therapy and the proper medication to “control” his mental illness (bipolar disorder). And sometimes, therapy can be effective enough to render medication unnecessary.
Raise awareness about this issue at your school. GO
Sources: Lakeland Mental Health Center, Mental Health America, Huffington Post, Varsity Online, About.com, HellaWella.com