Mental Illness Fears Come Out at Halloween

If you were disturbed by some of the Halloween displays this season, you aren’t alone. Ideastream’s Lisa Ryan spoke recently to mental health experts including NEOMED’s Erik Messamore, M.D., Ph.D., about the flurry of negative stereotypes about mental illness that come out with the haunted houses each year.

Dr. Messamore, an associate professor of psychiatry at NEOMED, said lack of knowledge often leads to fear, expressed in Halloween displays like the “Psycho Path.“

“When someone is behaving or speaking in ways that don’t make sense, we either run away, typically, laugh a little bit, worry, get scared, or sometimes respond by being mean,’’ he said.

Dr. Messamore recently completed his first year as the medical director of the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center at NEOMED, where he works to promote best practices in the pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia—or as he would like to say, schizophrenias. (There isn’t just one, as Dr. Messamore can explain.)

The BeST Center offers a wide range of services to help community agencies implement and sustain treatment practices that improve the lives of people affected by schizophrenia.


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