Monday, April 20, 2015

"Every 15 Minutes"

Every 15 Minutes is a new novel by Lisa Scottoline.  It appears to be something of a thriller involving a psychiatrist who takes on a 17-year-old patient who is struggling with life.

It's being advertised on television in a quite startling, and, I believe, irresponsible way.  You could easily believe by the advertisement that this is a work of non-fiction, to help you protect yourself and your family by learning to recognize "sociopaths" which you meet on the average every 15 minutes. That is not what the book is at all.  To make it seem such is irresponsible at best, and dangerous at worse.  The "Every 15 Minutes" actually refers to something the psychiatrist's patient does every fifteen minutes as a manifestation of his OCD syndrome.

If nothing else, it only adds fuel to the fire of separating out a class of people--those with mental illness--of whom we should be afraid.  Every time I hear of a shooting, for instance, by a person who is "mentally ill" I hear two things which tend to work against each other.  One, we should be afraid of these people and they shouldn't be allowed to hide.  Two, we should reduce the stigma of mental illness so that they can get the help they need.

This has been going on for years and I see precious little effort to de-stigmatize mental illness, particularly in the mass media where the horror stories get told the loudest.  I'd rather they just stop tut-tutting the stigma if they are not going to be a part of the solution.

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