Social Issues In Mental Illness

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Main sociological themes identified
Based on the theory of social exchange, human beings constantly evaluate benefits and costs and settle for a choice that favors them (Hill, 1992). As such, relationships are formed and maintained on the basis of reciprocity, when there are exchanged benefits and rewards. Hill (1992) elaborates that the mutuality in relationships should stem from the expectations of social behaviors, and it can be sustained only when relationships are built on trust and autonomy, rather than exploitation and domination. For example, if a patient trusts his doctor, he will give up his autonomy and choose to comply with the prescribed treatment. An application of the social exchange theory can be observed in the success of the
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However, more often than not, the media portrays mental illness negatively by associating the mentally ill with violence or crimes. Even though there are incidents when people with mental illness exhibits behaviors that are socially unacceptable, it is not a common phenomenon (Thoits, 2011). The media broadcasting results in further perpetuation of existing stigma and negative stereotypes against people with mental illnesses (Arboleda-Florez, 2003). In my opinion, “Shutter Island” was able to portray patients with mental illness in the 1950s in a non-prejudiced manner. Initially, when Teddy was solving the mystery of sudden disappearance of Rachel Solomon, he repeatedly uses the term “criminals” to address the patients in the institution. Dr. Cawley corrected him by explaining that despite the fact that “these people” committed crimes, they are mentally ill and therefore should be referred as “patients”. I found this scene particularly interesting as it managed to bring light onto the presence of stigma on people with mental illness and set it in a way that the audience would understand that there is a difference between “prisoners” and…show more content…
It shows us how mental illness treatment modalities are poorly understood by the society then. In the 1950s, more than 40000 patients categorized as unstable were lobotomized (Times Higher Education, 2002). James Gilligan, a renowned doctor who brought about crucial influence in the reform of mental institutions, was the movie’s psychiatric advisor. Under his direction, “Shutter Island” was able to demonstrate the beginning of changes in mental healthcare delivery, with a growing understanding of mental illnesses and their treatment approaches (Cox, 2010). We can see that the roles of both Dr. Sheehan and Dr. Cawley defended and encouraged behavioral therapy to resolve Teddy’s delusions rather than opting for invasive
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