I've become entirely convinced that the stigma against mental illness is a result of Mind-Body dualism. This is basically the idea that our body is just some empty shell and that our mind sort of pilots it. Sort of like driving a car; there's the physical casing of the car yet it only moves ones a driver gets in and starts pushing buttons. Take a look at this article:
“It's an irony,” Kennedy told Gupta, “but we think no stigma towards Gabby and her brain injury, but [Loughner] has a brain injury as well, because clearly his brain was not working properly when he picked up that gun and shot all those people.”
“If you have diabetes and have a chemical imbalance that you need more insulin, you don't have any question about it. But if you need some more serotonin or dopamine, you need a neurotransmitter, then [people] look at that as something askew, as if the brain isn't a part of the rest of the body.” This double standard, he says, is part of the continuing stigma against mental disorders.
The senator here makes a perfectly valid argument. Why is there no stigma against getting medicine for chemical imbalances like insulin yet when someone has a similar defect of chemicals that just so happen to affect the brain they're called “crazy”?
The brain is a computer, the mind is a program that runs on it. No one is up in arms with the idea of the brain being physical, yet once the necessary relationship is made — that without the brain there's no mind — then people start to huff and haw. Our brains can – and in most cases will be – just as imperfect as any other body part. If I have non-functioning or handicapped legs, then there are certain activities that I simply won't be able to do, like running. If I have a non-functioning or handicapped brain, similarly, there will be certain mental and cognitive tasks that I won't be able to do.