Search icon


27th Jan 2016

An Australian Woman Has Responded To A Controversial Article About Faking Mental Illness

'Good people have mental illnesses. We need them to feel supported and empowered.'

Ellen Tannam

 Mental illness is something that affects many of us and many of the people we love, so when an article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald entitled ‘Mental Illness – Who’s Faking It?‘ it was bound to cause controversy

Written by James Adonis, it gave details of ‘malingering’ (pretending to have a disorder to avoid work), and accused many people of inventing or exaggerating symptoms of mental illness for their workloads to be lightened.

This insulted many people who suffer from mental health issues, including Anna Spargo-Ryan who posted about the piece on her Facebook page.

‘One of the recommendations from this absolute dropkick of a human was to “issue a warning to those you suspect are faking it.’

She went on to detail how articles like this can actually make life harder for people suffering: ‘Part of what makes mental illness so hard to identify in at-risk people is the constant reinforcement that we’re “imagining it” or that we’re “just sad” or that we “have to want to get better”.’

These photos of me were taken three days apart. In the first one, I have a mental illness. And in the second one, I…

Posted by Anna Spargo-Ryan on Friday, 22 January 2016

The author of the article has since issued an apology for his insensitive handling of the subject.

Lead Image via Facebook