I think mental illness can be improved if you start to look at alternative therapies that deal with the EMOTIONAL trauma that caused the illness in the first place, sadly those who are of the intellectual psychological type tend to be unconcious on the emotional level, the level where healing is needed.I think if conventional medicine is relied on exclusively the outlook is not good. I also think that SELF HELP GROUPS are the way to go. I would envisage each group having a book where they write down what they feel has helped them.
As far as society goes , yes education is important, but it seems not to be as important as dealing with the fear of mental illness and people need to be helped to have courage to overcome their fear. Emotionally, people sometimes want to stamp on the person with the illness rather than the illness itself because of the fear.
I also feel effort should be put into changing life circumstances so that as much as possible wants and needs are met I think mental illness is much more likely when they are not.
I think this is really important, people with these types of illnesses are easy scapegoats in times of economic hardship and instability, if you read a bit of history it can get scary. I think its important for people to fight for their rights, if they feel up to it, to be recognised as fully human in law - ie the right to refuse treatment. Forced treatment causes so much harm. It's like going to a doctor with a broken leg and having them jump up and down on it. I'm sure a large proportion of suicides and violent incidents are due to trauma caused by forced treatment. If the law changes to benefit the rights of mentally ill people, stigma will also lessen.
People need to explore avenues for cures themselves -ultimately Big Pharma have no interest in cures, their profits lie in people with mental illness being permanently, chronically ill, on medication for the rest of their lives. But don't give up, if people search for themselves cures will be found. ( don't forget diet! - organic, fatty acids, molasses for Vitamin B and cutting out refined sugar)
Edit: I did not tell you to come off your meds , just to be aware and not rely on them exclusively - the chemical imbalance in the brain is caused by traumatised emotions not the other way around - homones and emotions affect the chemical balance of the brain so its therefore possible that you CAN affect your chemical imbalance by dealing with past trauma - we should approach the cause, aswell as the symptoms. but thats not to say there isn't a chemical imbalance which is why I reccommended diet - there has been shown to be a relation to diet and mental illness. Going to groups won't cure your illness it's true, but it's a way of getting support without the harm and degredation when so called professionals are involved - and support is also an important part of managing mental illness and also communication about what people have found to be helpful so don't knock it. Not everyone has friends or family who are supportive. By the way I did not mention self help books - I said self help groups.
What do you mean by "suck it up" Is it that you find that people are in denial that you have a mental illness problem?