Mental and Social Disorder Essay

1888 Words 8 Pages
One in every seventeen people in America suffers from a mental disorder. These disorders inhibit the afflicted person from functioning properly and coping normally with daily life. Many afflicted with a psychological disorder do not exhibit obvious symptoms, as medical advancements have made it possible for these disorders to be suppressed or even nonexistent. Today, however, harsh stigmas exist that unfairly categorize those with a mental illness as violent, unfriendly, and abnormal. The media and federal government are culprits in fabricating the unrealistic depictions of mental disability that define the portrayal of those who are mentally or psychologically disadvantaged.
The media is and has been one of the strongest outlets of
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News broadcasts and reports are equally culpable in their portrayal of mentally challenged individuals. In the fight to gain an interested audience, reporters “sell” stories instead of simply “telling” them. As a result, mental illness is overemphasized to elicit a stronger reaction from the audience.
“A good story catches public attention either by focusing on conflict and controversy or by raising issues of public safety—all perspectives that may place journalists in direct conflict with mental health advocates. News media, particularly newspapers, are among the most frequently identified sources of mental health information. This gives them great scope to dispel inaccurate and stigmatizing stereotypes perpetuated in the entertainment media or to reinforce and amplify them. Results show that news representations of mental illness […] are largely inaccurate and negative. Reporters emphasize the violent, delusional and irrational behavior of people with a mental illness, and often sensationalise headlines or story content in order to attract attention .”
What makes this type of stigmatization so dangerous is that the news is generally accepted as factually based, when, in reality, a disproportionate amount of broadcasting and newspaper articles are not; they paint the mentally disabled as overtly violent