Society's Fear of Mental Illness
Where and when did the fear of mental illness originate? Simply stated, what the world doesn't understand, it fears, and for a very long time the world couldn't even begin to understand mental illness. For millennia, depression was a secret one kept. Of course, this just made matters worse. Those closest to the depressed person knew there was a problem, even if they were unaware of its nature. If one was fortunate, they didn't shun you or lock you away. They just dismissed the problem, if they could, with a knowing glance.
Sometimes people have an unreasonable but real fear that depression is contagious, in some way. They don't want to get too close and catch it. Then there's the very real worry that mental illness affects who one is at the core — that it's changed the person in some way. If you break an ankle, you've got a broken ankle. If you have a heart attack, it's definitely worse than the broken ankle, but it doesn't approach the incalculable fear of losing your mind. After all, your mind is who you are. It's where you live.