TEDx Talk: Mental Illness is an Asset
Mike Veny

I am glad for you that you have been able to see and experience positive effects of your own struggles. Mental illness can be an asset, but declaring it is an asset without any qualifiers like sometimes or for some people is an affront to those for whom it is very definitely a liability — and I have a hard time conceptualizing it not being a liability even when in the balance sheet of your life you’ve found an offsetting asset.

Delivering a message to a broad audience that mental illness unequivocally an asset and not a liability is harmful. It creates a false perception of mental illness for those who are not afflicted. Those fortunate enough to not have experienced a mental illness already struggle with understanding and empathy for those who do — they don’t need to have the waters muddied with the idea it can be turned into an asset for everyone. This declaration can also be shaming for those who just cannot find the asset side of the ledger in their personal experience — now they have one more thing to consider as a failure in themselves.

I encourage you to speak about how you found it to be an asset — helping balance the liability but not erasing it — and not make the generalization that your experience is available to everyone else if they just do the right things.