I believe the media, all media, have a responsibility both moral and ethical to the mentally ill. They have in the fabric of time woven fear into the people of this country when they hear the word "schizophrenia." Media should hold themselves accountable for portraying us in such a poor light that it becomes difficult to make friends or get a date because we are outcasts in our own country. When I tell people that I have this illness, I can see the fear that immediately comes across their faces and eyes.
To combat this fear, we need more positive stories about people living successfully with mental illness, which happens to be most of us. Sure, some of us may have our struggles, but we are not violent. Most of us are not homeless; in fact, we are not many of the things that media have portrayed us to be. It would be nice to hear about those of us who are doing well in the community, for, believe it or not, we thrive. For example, I work full time for an organization named Allegheny HealthChoices Inc. I own my own home and automobile and make a good living. I also help support my elderly mother who lives with me.
So why not print a story like that? It will help erase the negative stereotypes that hinder our recovery. After all, we want to be accepted just like all of you -- no more, no less.
JAMES A. KINDLER