Almost 4 per cent of the population develops schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and these disorders mostly appear in youth and young adults. The families who this year will discover the agony of psychotic illnesses need to know that genuine help is available. The path to that help is just much more treacherous than it should be.
Selective quotes taken out of context do not benefit our understanding of serious and persistent mental illness. It is important for all (consumers, family and professionals) to have a shared understanding of all the facts.
Current anti-stigma campaigns emphasize that most people with mental illnesses aren't violent. This is very true. They also point out that people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. Also true.
But the research is clear that people with untreated psychosis are a greater danger to themselves and others than people who aren't psychotic. People with untreated psychotic disorders have a higher rate of violence than do the general population.
A mentally ill young woman, who thrived on medication and crumbled without, lobbied to be removed from mandatory treatment -- she didn't like being medicated. Her parents were very surprised when they learned that, after a year of stability, her community mental health team had decided, without consulting them, to release their daughter from mandatory treatment.