Fox's new TV show tries to make mental illness entertaining. It isn't.
These are sobering facts with large-scale societal implications.
The homelessness among people with schizophrenia is connected to socioeconomic conditions that potentially share responsibility for the etiology of the illness.
The high rate of incarceration is the fault of an overburdened criminal justice system unequipped to serve as a de facto mental healthcare system.
The mortality and physical illnesses among the severely mentally ill are often due to metabolic effects of overused antipsychotics.
So here’s what reality looks like: understaffed wards with very sick people, many of them minorities, many of them overweight, who are doped up with medication, shuffled in and out of impotent “therapy” groups, and released when insurance runs out—generally in three days—whether they’re well or not.
They don’t have private rooms. They don’t receive individual attention. They’re not intriguing mysteries to these hospitals; they’re burdens and profit points.
How’s that for a fun TV show? Sorry, America, serious mental illness isn’t entertaining; we don’t go in and get tended to by multiple doctors searching for clues as though they’re on CSI: Loony Bin.
You can bet if Fox had a show called Chemo set in an oncology ward, producers would feel an obligation to verisimilitude and gravity. But Fox wouldn’t dare do such a show, of course. Because cancer is serious.
I’m sad to see that mainstream media still seems to see people with mental illness as figures of fun. I, for one, am not laughing.