What is the difference between our bodies getting sick and our brains getting sick? It seems obvious that these should be seen as similar processes. Why does stigma still exist against mental illness, but patients are not discriminated against for having medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure? Current research on brain physiology is shedding light on the biological causes of mental illness. One thing we know for sure is that although illness is not the patient’s fault, or due to any weakness in character, stigma often prevents them from seeking and receiving care.
However, perceptions about mental illness are slowly changing as it is receiving more attention in the media. Today, we speak with Dr. Joseph Ferencz, the head of psychiatry at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, about the nature of mental illness and how to dispel some of these myths and stigmas.
For more information about mental health, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website.