Mental illness is a fascinating subject, all the more because so little is known about it. You get the feeling that there must be hundreds of kinds of mental illness, yet books on the subject usually list only a dozen. The mind seems to break down in fairly predictable ways, meaning I guess that we're prone to certain kinds of disorders a lot more than others.
One disorder has to do with hearing voices that aren't there. From a little reading on the net I got the feeling that the treatment of this illness is changing. Gone are the days when the patient is told the voices are a figment of his imagination. Nowadays the doctor might accept the reality of the voices and simply try to teach the patient to cope with them, to have constructive conversations with them.
Here's (above and below) some excerpts from a pamphlet for people who hear voices. It's not very judgemental. The idea is assure the patient that what they're going through isn't as scary as it seems, and that they have some control over it.
My hunch is that a lot of people with this problem get only a pamphlet and some drugs. I don't know enough about the subject to know if this constitutes woeful neglect or simply a recognition that the cause of this problem is mysterious and treatment reasonably has to be restricted to the little bit that we know actually works.
Mental patients are forming Mad Pride groups, mostly to resist compulsory electroshocks, and to get more free benefits from the government, but also to persuade the public that mental disorders don't always prevent people from doing good work on the job.
The most articulate mad person I've encountered is Spikol (above). She accepts questions from YouTubers and I have to resist the urge to deluge her with them. What cures actually work? What should parents do? What did she think of the book, "Franny and Zooey?", and the movie "Royal Tannenbaums? Should the state sterilize? Does she agree with coercive institutionalization? Can mad people cope with their problem without curing it, like Russell Crowe did in "Beautiful Mind?" How many crazy people are there? What does she think of the therapy attempted by the author of "The Criminal Mind?" Does madness stimulate creativity? Are mad people attracted to other mad people? Why do some mad people become violent? Are all violent people mad? Does therapy help? Do previously mad people make the best therapists? Why is depression so common? Is it curable? What are the most helpful books? Does madness often just go away with time? What's the relationship between habbit and madness?