Mental Illness and the Media

Updated on September 29, 2018
Ezria Copper profile image

I have a history degree and I work on the clerical side of the medical field. I like to use my knowledge and experience to help people.

Let's Look at Media Portrayal of Mental Ilness.

With the controversial new web television series 13 Reasons Why, about a teenager who is depressed and commits suicide, there is concern about how people with mental illness are portrayed in the media.

Movies like Psycho perpetuate the myth that people with mental illness are violent and should be feared. It promotes the idea that a person with any kind of mental health problem should be shunned and avoided for fear that they will become violent and do something to hurt someone.

Research suggests, however, that people who suffer from mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than they are to be the perpetrators of those crimes. However, when it comes to depictions of mental illness in the media, studies show that violent crime is the most common theme.

In 1999, the U.S. Surgeon General announced that stigma was the largest barrier to mental health care. It is mostly manifested in isolation, marginalization, or social distancing in which people with mental health problems are far more isolated than other people. Young children learn that people with mental health problems are "scary" or "weird." The perception by other people is that these people are dangerous.

In a review of 22 studies that focused on why people with mental health disorders do not seek treatment or do not take their medication, it was revealed that stigma and embarrassment were the top reasons. If society keeps shunning these people and acting like mental health is one big joke, it is damaging to society and the health of people.

A Beautiful Mind

The Life of John Nash

John Nash was born on June 13, 1928. Upon graduating from high school he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology where he first wanted to major in chemical engineering. He later changed his major to chemistry and eventually mathematics. When he was 19 in 1948 when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science AND a Master of Science in mathematics. After that, he attended Princeton University to pursue graduate studies in mathematics. He earned a Ph.D. degree in 1950 with a 28 page dissertation on non-cooperative games. He started showing signs of paranoia in April 1959. It was there that he was given the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He spent the next nine years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. However, he did make a full recovery from the illness. In 1970, he quit taking medication and was never admitted to a psychiatric hospital ever again. He also returned to work full time. He did not like that in the movie A Beautiful Mind, which was based on his life it portrayed that later on in life he was still medicated. The people who made the movie thought that if they portrayed that he was not medicated, it would encourage people with mental health problems to not take their medication. John Nash and his wife died in a car crash on May 23, 2015.

John Forbes Nash

I wouldn't have had good scientific ideas if I had thought normally. If I felt completely pressureless I don't think I would have gone in this pattern.

— John Nash

Touched With Fire

Touched With Fire

The story consists of two poets who are both bipolar and in inpatient hospitalization for the disorder. It explores the idea that there is a connection between bipolar disorder and creative genius. However, it also reveals that it is a life long disease that these people have to live with and learn to deal with. It shows the human side of having to live with and deal with a mental health condition. It also deals with the aspect of "magical thinking" or thinking that the disorder is not an illness and that they do not have to adhere to their medication because in the minds of the people with the disease they do not think that it is an illness.

Prozac Nation

Prozac Nation

The movie is based on the autobiographical book Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel. She gets accepted into Harvard when she is nineteen. The movie is like the book in the sense that it portrays a college student who has great literary talent and struggles with major depression. In the book she is hospitalized several times and tries to commit suicide on several different occasions. However, the movie does not portray her actually attempting to commit suicide. In the movie as in the book, she finally comes to a state of mental stability and learns to live with her disease. The book was a New York Times best seller.

Girl Interrupted

The movie is based on the book Girl Interrupted, written by Susanna Kaysen. The story starts out when this young woman has a nervous breakdown and tries to commit suicide. She is hospitalized for eighteen months and given the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. She has to deal with the illness which she is denying she has. Even though she struggles through most of the movie and the book, she learns how to manage the illness.

Summing Up

Ending the stigma of mental illness is very important. The conversations people have about mental illness should be the same as if they were talking about a physical illness. People need to understand that these people have a legitimate illness and should not be marginalized or pushed to the outskirts of society. These people need support and for society to accept them and not fear them due to the stigma that currently comes along with the disease. The media often portrays people with mental health disorders as being dangerous and violent criminals. However, most people with mental health disorders are not criminals nor are they violent. They just have a chronic illness which they have to live with and deal with the same as someone with diabetes, asthma, or any other illness.

Sources

I accessed the following articles on June 24 and 25, 2017.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)