Friday, October 12, 2007

Life Insurance Prejudice

Life insurance companies will not pay survivors of people who commit suicide. This is a holdover from a time when people decided to treat suicide as an act of selfishness, probably part of the same mindset that decided that suicide should be treated as an illegal act rather than an extension of real illness. This same mindset refuses to acknowledge mental illness as "real sickness" such as a physical illness. It is seen as a weakness of character rather than the very real medical problem that it is.
It is time that suicide is recognized as an extension of a true sickness and not to see the sufferer as any worse than a person afflicted with a physical sickness. Survivors of those who commit suicide deserve to be paid death benefits just as much as survivors of a person who dies of cancer or in an accident. Why should the family be punished?
Of course I acknowledge that insurance companies are heartless, money-grubbing entities. But when society as a whole changes its point of view, they may be forced to change their policies.
Suicide is a reaction to a very real problem. Mental illness is real, not a choice that people make. We cannot stop fighting to end the stigma.

Blessed be,


Tom & Icy said...

That's just a clause for the first couple years to keep people from taking out a big policy and then killing themself or someone killing them and making it look like suicide. Killing oneself is not always related to mental illness. Sometimes a person might have a terminal disease and wants to end the pain or someone may feel there is no other way out of a bad situation. Or it could be an impulsive act in a moment of passion. It's the same argument as pulling the plug on a loved one on life support or having an abortion. Everyone forms their own opinion.

Lily Strange said...

I agree with you that not everyone who commits suicide is mentally ill, but the BULK of people who commit suicide are. And I don't think that anybody can deny that the mentally ill are subject to all sorts of prejudice. The way most people react, a person could say they were a pedophile and be treated no worse than a person who said they are mentally ill.
The only people who off themselves in moments of passion have some degree of mental illness. The only exception might be killing oneself out of grief over a loved one.
The prejudice I've experienced and continue to experience as a person with mental illness should not be. I'm not dangerous except to myself. It's the danger to others, not the mental illness, that should discern how people are treated.
Sorry if I come off harsh. I'm not in a very pretty mood right now.