Is mental illness an excuse for poor behavior? I came across this podcast episode and thought I would write my blog about this. Mental illness is more prevalent than it ever has been in our country. After listening to this podcast, I wanted to conduct a little research of my own, so I asked some of my friends, family, and co-workers the same question: Is mental illness an excuse for poor behavior? A frequent answer I got was “Lately I see it as trying to justify actions”. I found this pretty interesting. I actually see this as being somewhat true as well. I am not sure of everyone else’s opinion, but I think the media tries blaming mental illness before anything is factually true. A shooting happens and within minutes headlines on media outlets are “suspect was mentally ill”. To me this is taking away from the fact that the shooter did something horrendous. Yes, mental illness is a huge issue, but the context needs to be monitored on how the word is used. It is not a way to justify actions. In the podcast the podcasters use the example of a mentally ill driver has a seizure while driving crashing into another vehicle. Does the person suffering from the seizure have to pay for the damages? In the podcast, the girl says yes, and the male podcaster seems taken back like the answer should have been no. This is exactly why some might think mental illness is being used as an excuse for poor behavior. This by no means is me trying to be mean, but isn’t it the person with mental illness responsibility to make sure they are taking their medications and going to their doctors? The person who was just stopped at a red light should not be responsible for the damages to his car, am I right? We need to focus on health and responsibility when talking about mental health. Mental health is not something we can use to justify poor behavior. The person with mental illness needs to take responsibility. Avoiding responsibility will just make poor behavior become normal because they can get away with more if this is the case.