Mental Illness And The Media

1540 WordsApr 17, 20177 Pages
In the media when you hear the word “mental illness” most of the time its associated with words like “dangerous,” “monster,” or better yet “psychopath”. Shawn M Phillips in “mental illness in popular culture” (p.64) states that at the end of the day, “mental illness and disabilities are all just clustered into one vague group of “deviants” by popular culture.” This is not to say it isn 't ever associated with positive words like “beautiful,” “normal,” and “kind. The media should be flooded with more positive representations than there are negative, but this is not the case. In movies, Tv shows, and news media, they portray mental illness as a person, not a person with a mental illness. Whatever else embodies a person no longer matters,…show more content…
The article failed to mention that research shows a decline in homicides by people with mental illnesses. The article also failed to stress that people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victim of the crime than the other way around (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). Many news outlets can encourage people to think those dealing with mental health issues are violent and dangerous by exaggerating and focusing on violent aspects of certain instances that involve mental illness and violence. “Using graphic descriptions, emotional diction, and a jarring headline can turn a harmless story into a sensationalized violent crime.” Us news - Kirstin Fawcett (2015) . Less than 15% of news media includes the perspectives of psychiatric experts (heather stuart 2006). While news representations have gotten better, they are still commonly centralized around violence. Television is another powerful influential source for not only adults but children too. Images of mental illnesses are all over different types of TV shows, from soap operas, children programming, and even prime time programming. If a show has a character with a mental illness it is more likely for that character to be more violent than the other characters or to be the villain of the show. A study was done by (AMBER 2005) They watched 184 different programs and identified 127 characters as having a mental illness, 33.9% of these characters were portrayed as violent. Other significant findings showed
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