Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jean Doesn't Have Mental Health Issues, But She Still Is a Criminal

The question raised in the playrooms of Walford Web Kindergarten is thus: Is Jean Slater now or has she ever been a criminal?

Now, Jean seems to be one of those EastEnders' characters who has to be above reproach, and any effort to reproach her on any matter leads to fanbois and cheerleaders defending her to the death.

The most constant excuse made in her defence (and by people who should know better) is that Jean has a mental illness.

She simply doesn't.

Jean suffers from bi-polar syndrome, which is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. With medication, bi-polar people lead pretty normal, in some cases exceptional, lives.

Stephen Frye is bi-polar. So were Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower. So is Bill Gates.

I wouldn't say any of those people have or had mental illness.

Jean is, however, a criminal. Snookered by Michael, she took money that didn't belong to her and gave it to him. At best, that's embezzlement (since a great deal of the money she took was meant to pay the Vic's overheads); at worst, it's just plain stealing. She stole thousands of pounds. Even though Janine eventually repaid what was stolen, it doesn't alter the fact that Jean took something that didn't belong to her and knew what she was doing. If Alfie and Kat had reported the theft to the police, she would have been prosecuted and imprisoned.

Add to that, the fact that she broke into Janine's house and that's another thing to add to her rap sheet.

Say what you will about creepy Jean, who is as capable of bullying and passive-aggressive intimidation as anyone else in Albert Square, but she's not mentally ill and she is a criminal.


  1. I would disagree slightly about the 'none of these have mental illness' (Stephen Fry et al) because they do - what it is is 'managed' mental illness, and successfully managed.

    I have personal experience of depression, and I would not shy away from saying I have a managed mental illness (whilst there is some debate about 'genetic' links, the coincidences in my family are far too strong for my G.P. and psychiatrist to dismiss without some sort of consideration...) but I am by no means 'mad', and nor am I a criminal! Neither would I, nor anyone else I know with depression, use it as an excuse for criminal activities!

    However, the fact remains that it is a mental illness, managed or not. Some prefer medication, others (such as Stephen Fry) prefer to manage their condition themselves, but managed it needs to be, one way or the other.

    What I object to is the 'trend' of saying "I've got depression..." (and, for some reason, in particular 'bi-polar' - known as 'manic' depression in the bad old days - as if simple 'clinical depression, such as I have, is not quite enough!). Also, the trend of using any kind of depression as an excuse for anything that is not socially acceptable.

    I have never broken the law, nor has anyone with either form of depression I've ever known. I live a perfectly normal, functioning life - I work, I have a family etc - but I manage my condition as sensibly as I can (my G.P.'s phrase is that I have a 'good insight into my condition').

    But the fact remains, it is a mental illness no matter whether you want to 'use' it in the wrong way or not.

    I'm sorry, I just had to get that off my chest!

  2. I hate how people excuse Jean's behaviour as a consequence of her mental situation. Jean is an incredibly stupid, naive, belligerent, childish woman who also just happens to suffer from bipolar disorder. None of those behavioural traits are synonymous with her condition. She's just an incredibly stupid person and her mental state is completely inconsequential to that.

    Frankly, I find it offensive when people excuse her stupidity as if it's some kind of inevitable side effect of her mental problems. I have suffered from bipolar for many years and have become acquainted with many other sufferers of depression and more severe mental problems. Many of them are phenomenally smart and intellectual people. Bipolar disorder does not automatically equate to stupidity or rudeness, and nor does it excuse it, either.