My Bio Ecological Experience With Regard To Mental Illnesses

1266 words - 5 pages

I am fortunate to live in a culture that accepts mental illnesses for what they are; treatable disorders. In macrosystem of western Canada, even though not much is generally known about mental illnesses, the overall feeling is that people living with these disorders need and should be provided the help and support they deserve. With the mental illness issues in the downtown east side in Vancouver so pervasive, we see the horrible extreme when these illnesses are left untreated. I don’t know of a person who wouldn’t agree that those who suffer with a mental illness deserve help, regardless of their socioeconomic status. This sense of philanthropy, though, has not always been the case in my immediate family.
Although the statistics prove that “mental illnesses affect people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures” (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012), my family, particularly my father, believed we would never be affected by mental illness. Any issues surrounding mental illness were never discussed. The words depression, mood disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, or other illnesses that had a stigma attached to them were not tolerated as acceptable “excuses” in our home. Because of my father’s profession as an RCMP officer and his place in the community, we were to always act as though we were a perfect family when together in the public eye. Even when I was a rebellious teenager who wanted nothing to do with my family, I still knew to honour my father’s name when put in family social situations. My rebellion stemmed farther than that of normal teenage experimentation. Looking back, I was suffering with some form of emotional and behavioral disorder that would have benefited from treatment. I did not know until a recent conversation with my mother that my father’s negative views on mental illness started with a family situation that went back over 40 years.
When my father was around the age of 11, my grandmother, who died before I was born, was suffering from a “mental breakdown”, as my mother described it (personal communication with B. Fisher January 20, 2012). It is said that my grandmother was not able to pull herself out of this state and suffered from her illness for some time. My father was not able to understand what my grandmother was going through and couldn’t handle her “weakness”, as my mother describes how my father viewed the situation. Unable to help my grandmother in their home country of England, my grandparents decided that emigrating with my father and uncle to Canada was in their best interest. They were in need of a better life away from the small village they lived in. Desborough did not have many, if any, services available in the small town exosystem as a big city might have in the 1950’s. The move proved to be successful, as my grandmother eventually got better. The outlook of mental illness, though, was forever seen as a weakness by my father. The extend to my father’s...

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