On October 25, former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn (a Republican) said that President Trump has “a personality disorder.” He was not the first to posit that President Trump has some form of mental illness. The press has been engaging with such speculation since the start of his campaign, though there has been a decided increase of late. On October 26, New York Times columnist David Brooks reported that some Republican senators thought Trump is “suffering from early Alzheimer’s.” In an article titled “Some Republicans are starting to more openly question Trump’s Mental health,” Business Insider reports that “One psychiatric professor at Yale said about half a dozen lawmakers had contacted her over the past several months.”
In a recent post published by the Prindle Post, staff writer Carrie Robinson discussed the ethics behind displaying mental health in Knott’s Berry Farm attraction FearVR 5150, which “sparked concerns about the stigma surrounding mental health.” 5150 corresponds to a California police code that denotes interactions with individuals with mental illnesses. Essentially, the ride took individuals through various scenes displaying their version of what a haunted mental health hospital would entail. This inherently portrays highly polarized and stereotypical views of mental health issues that negatively depicts those who suffer from them.
Recently, rapper Scott Mescudi, also known by his alter-ego Kid Cudi, checked into a rehabilitation clinic. Upon entering rehabilitation services, Mescudi published a Facebook post detailing the internal struggle he has been going through after delaying the release of his anticipated album Passion, Pain, and Slayin’ Demons. Mescudi’s brave and open look into his personal life has facilitated many conversations surrounding the feminization of mental health and its correlation with race. His openness has allowed us to ask key questions on how we should talk about mental illnesses and how our daily actions can have detrimental effects on the ones around us.
The history of mental illness is riddled with what are now horror stories: mental illnesses “treated” by bleeding patients with leeches, dousing them with hot or cold water, or simply putting them to death. From the 1600s to the 1800s in Europe and in the newly established United States, it was common for mentally ill people to be locked away in asylums, sometimes chained to the walls in what were essentially dungeons. Movements in the 1800s by activists like Philippe Pinel in France and Dorothea Dix in the northeastern states of the US helped to change these dungeons into what better resembled hospitals, with more comfortable housing and medical doctors.