As someone who’s had more than her fair share of engagement with mental health services – my brother has schizophrenia while I first spent time as a psychiatric in-patient at the age of twelve – perhaps I ought to be delighted. We’re all in this together, aren’t we? It is easier to mention mental health conditions than it used to be, and for that I’m grateful. Nonetheless, as the drive to increase awareness gathers apace, there are certain questions I feel it’s becoming more difficult to ask.
Superficially, outsiders are more understanding and empathetic. I feel I can use the term “paranoid schizophrenia” without the person I’m talking to picturing my brother as an axe murderer. There are, moreover, fewer outsiders than before. More and more people are talking openly about their own diagnoses. One has the sense of being in a club, although I’m starting to fear I may have broken the house rules.