Stereotypes Concerning Mental Disorder


Mental disorders have always been a cornerstone of biased thinking due to people’s distorted perceptions of them. This condition may be defined as “an ongoing dysfunctional pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior that causes significant distress, and that is considered deviant in that person’s culture or society” (Introduction to Psychology 501). It has been estimated that about 1 in every 4 Americans suffers from a psychological illness within any one year (Introduction to Psychology 500). Sometimes, they have much in common with medical and physical conditions. As a result, people may hold stereotypes about mentally disabled people since their nature is quite complicated.

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Mentally ill people are still stigmatized, and this makes them suffer not only from their disorders but also from constant judgments. Generalizations about people with disabilities arise from a widespread belief system called “ableism”. Ableism alludes to perspectives in the public arena that devalue and limit the capabilities of people with disabilities (Cockerham). Thus, psychologically disabled people are considered less worthy and valuable; they can barely contribute to society.

I have never had any stereotypes about such people since I realized that this condition is partially medical; thus, it can be treated. People who take treatment are capable of controlling themselves, and it does not restrict them from enjoying their lives (Cockerham). However, several friends of mine thought that mentally disabled individuals are increasingly violent and unpredictable. My friends never knew that their spontaneous actions may cause wrong cells functioning and always tried to stay away. Moreover, my aunt’s employer did not want to hire a person with bipolar disorder because he thought that this condition would affect their company’s performance. Besides, such people lack credibility and cannot assess their actions from time to time.

Consequently, psychologically ill individuals are still partially discriminated against in modern society. Stigmatization leads to their inability to find a workplace, have a normal relationship, get an education, or merely live positively and enjoy every day. However, nowadays, special treatment allows such people to feel comfortable in society even in stressful conditions. Therefore, stereotyping is not an efficient measure to help these people to adapt within a community.

Movies tend to unveil these stereotypes to prove that mentally incapable individuals can function normally in society. The Perks of Being a Wallflower brilliantly depicts the life of an anxious and isolated teenager Charlie who struggles to adjust to the new surroundings since he enters high school. As the film progresses, the audience finds out more about Charlie’s journey through mental health – from his stay in a psychiatric clinic to the description of childhood trauma. This coming-of-age film does a great display of a person who can experience ups and downs while mentally ill. In the other movie, titled The Skeleton Twins, where main characters were on the verge of suicide. However, after an extended stay in the hospital, the siblings reunite, and both experience depression, trying to recover and accept themselves.


To conclude, it is vital to mention that mental disorder is a manageable condition and can be treated so that people can adapt to everyday living. Stereotypes concerning these illnesses arise from the inability to believe that psychologically incapable individuals can work, study, and function regularly. Since these conditions received much attention from the media, celebrities, and audiences, these biases start to vanish.


Cockerham, William. Sociology of Mental Disorder. Routledge, 2017.

Introduction to Psychology. University of Minnesota, 2015.

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PsychologyWriting. "Stereotypes Concerning Mental Disorder." September 24, 2023.