The mentally ill have dealt with hatred and the disliking by others for hundreds of years now, but most were normal at the start of their lives. Richard from the book Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman had similar traits to the mentally ill. As well as, the majority of the society in London Below seem to have some sort of mental illness. I also saw similarities with the story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber, because of the absurd day dreams Walter had driving his wife to go shopping. Mentally ill patients like this get pushed away from society; especially patients who suffer ridicule for their fluctuation in their thoughts, emotions, and behavior from people today.
Society has always had a negative attitude towards the mentally ill and especially in certain cultures. “Many cultures have viewed mental illness as a form of religious punishment or demonic possession” (Unite). Today, the United States will often diagnose a patient with mental illness and confine them with other patients in a care facility or prison. “Nearly 40 percent of the more than 11,000 inmates in city jails suffer from mental illness” (Keeping). However, there are some policies in the United States that support the mentally ill and their treatment. “The National Alliance for the mentally ill was founded in 1979 to provide support, education, advocacy, and research for people with serious psychiatric illnesses” (Unite). As well as, some social welfare programs have tried to fund and improve health care access for diagnosed patients. A major program is Unite for Sight that helps the mentally ill get health care (Unite). These programs are some of very few that try to help the mentally ill in society today. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter shows different signs of mental illness in the story. James Thurber really engaged me in his short story with the detail of the stories Walter was imaging and the real life items that produced the scenes. For example, Walter was powering up the “Navy hydroplane” in the first scene of the story followed by his wife’s complaint that Walter is driving the car too fast, which showed that he was day dreaming. Thurber continued with the same theme as Walter passed the hospital by removing and putting on his gloves dreaming he is a surgeon. This constant theme kept me intrigued throughout the story. Although Richard, from the book Neverwhere, was not mentally ill, society pushed him away similar to how society pushes away the mentally ill today.