Well, I'm starting with Don McLean's beautiful "Vincent" for a number of reasons:
I love it.
It illustrates the historical idea of the artist with mental illness (& whether Vincent Van Gogh had mental illness or epilepsy or nothing, we have historically thought he had mental illness)
Vincent is greatly misunderstood by the society.
AND there is a fair amount of suffering going on for Vincent.
Now the question I want to pose is, "How far have we come as a society for people with mental illness?"
Sure, we have the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act in the US) requiring "reasonable accommodations" to be made in employment which is extremely important AND we have a lot of unemployed and under-employed people with mental illness AND a hell of a lot in jails, prisons and homeless.
I'm going to talk about this in terms of Neuro-Diversity. From a statistical standpoint, we are all very much alike AND we do pick up on very small differences.
If one is unexpectedly different in some way, it can be exceedingly difficult to both explain your weaknesses and your strengths.
So when Don McLean sings, "They would not listen. They did not know how . . . They are not listening, they are not listening still . . ." --- most people with "mental illness" can relate to that; of course, so can just about everybody else-- maybe it's just a question of frequency and intensity.
I'm going to throw something out here [somebody else may have already suggested this -- I'd be kinda surprised if they hadn't] , it may not be true, and mental illness is very much associated with "Stress", etc.
I'm wondering if very much like a person who is born blind -- the brain "may" re-wire itself to try to communicate to others and calm and soothe oneself through higher levels of :
AND if things get really desperate, thought broadcasting.
Okay, well what's the point? Even if that last part is all garbage, the point is that we don't listen to people with respect to what their strengths really are, their weaknesses, or what they want -- we just try to cram them into the existing models of employment that more often than not don't work for them, AND if it doesn't work well they must need more drugs or cognitive behavioral therapy.
We are going to have to create some new models of employment that work for people with essentially different nervous systems that take full advantage of their incredible strengths and compensate for weaknesses -- just like anybody else except they are different.
This is going to require a lot of creativity & systemic thinking -- just the kind of thing for people with "mental illness."
"They would not listen. They did not know how . . .They are not listening, they are not listening still . . . perhaps they never will. . ."
Science is accelerating at the National Institute of Mental Health, leading to new understandings, beyond the DSM 5 which should impact Strength-based Recovery Programs and Employment Programs.
See: A Bad Job Is Harder On Your Mental Health Than Unemployment
Being in poor-quality work which, perhaps, is boring, routine or represents underemployment or a poor match for the employee's skills is widely regarded as a good way for the unemployed to remain connected to the labor market — and to keep the work habit. But Butterworth's data contradicts this.
The HILDA data shows unambiguously that the psychosocial quality of bad jobs is worse than unemployment. Butterworth looked at those moving from unemployment into employment and found that:
Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.
Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.