Historically, the treatment of the mentally ill has often been poor around the world. Hospitals like Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam) in London, Lunatics Tower in Vienna, and La Bicetre in Paris treated their patients notoriously bad. The “unbalanced” were locked in asylums, rarely released. Asylum patients were locked in chains, tourists visited the asylums to see inmates, and patients were sometimes feed spoiled food. This was due to the stigma against mental illness which lead to poor accommodations and forced incarcerations. In the west mental illness is still stigmatized, but less so. More often Westerners believe in a psychological perspective ion mental illness. The progression towards psychological understanding has been slower in Japan than in the West.
Modern Japanese society still often stigmatizes mental illness, and the treatment of the mentally ill is affected. Traditional attitudes and treatments have changed slowly, and some attitudes and treatments have been retained. Religious beliefs, such as Buddhism and Shinto also influence how people conceive of and treat mental illness. Concern for the treatment of the mentally ill, and interest in psychological perspectives and theories has increased over recent decades. Movements have been made attempting to increase awareness and improve mental health care. The unique culture of Japan influences the sometimes subpar treatment of the mentally ill. However, it may also be a necessary part of the treatment of Japanese mental patients.
Attitudinal barriers in Japan are different than in the West. Culture has created different realities. In both cultures rates of mental illness are the same for each gender. Diseases like Depression, Body Dimorphic Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder are more common in women, and diseases like alcoholism, substance abuse and Schizophrenia are more common in men. But the overall rates for mental illness is even for both genders. (Comer, 2010, p.376, 211, 541, 242, 361, 82) However, seeking help is different depending on gender. In Japan, men seek professional help more often than women; this is the opposite in the West. (Kido, 2013, p.102) Japanese younger people are more willing to discuss therapy than Japanese older people, as opposed to in the West. (Kido, 2013, p.103) Socioeconomic factors do not have an impact in Japan; again this is not true in the US where the poor receive less treatment for disorders. (Kido, 2013, p.103)
The rates of certain diseases also are different in Japan than in the West. Japan has a higher rate of Schizophrenia than in America. Rates of Bipolar Disorder, and Panic Disorder are similar worldwide. (WHO, 2010) Eating disorders like Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa are uncommon in non-Western countries. However, Japan has the highest rate of eating disorders in any non-Western nation, approximately equal to in the U.S. (Makino, 2004, p. 49) The higher rate of Schizophrenia in...