ⓘ Mental illness portrayed in media. Mental illnesses, also known as psychiatric disorders, are often inaccurately portrayed in the media. Films, television progr ..


ⓘ Mental illness portrayed in media

Mental illnesses, also known as psychiatric disorders, are often inaccurately portrayed in the media. Films, television programs, books, magazines, and news programs often stereotype the mentally ill as being violent or unpredictable, unlike the great majority of the actual mentally ill. As a result, some of the public stigmatize the mentally ill and believe that the mentally ill should be shunned, locked away in mental institutions, heavily medicated, or a combination of the three. However, not only are most of those with psychiatric disorders able to function adequately in society, but many are able to work successfully and make substantial contributions to society.


1. News

In 2012, India Knight wrote a column in The Sunday Times of London about depression. In response, Alastair Campbell, a columnist at The Huffington Post, described his distress at her writing that "everybody gets depressed" and that "there is no stigma in depression".

Campbell discussed the inappropriateness of India Knights word choices. In writing that everyone gets depressed, he commented, she showed that she was part of that world that does not believe that clinical depression is a disease. Campbell claimed that Knights article reinforced the reality that there is still stigma and taboo surrounding depression. He noted that even in the medical profession, people are afraid to mention to their employers that they have depression, because they would not be fully understood as they would be if they suffered from a "physical illness". Campbell wrote of the struggle to bring understanding to mental illness, and described Knights article as "unhelpful, potentially damaging and certainly show we still have quite a way to go."

People with schizophrenia are often portrayed as dangerous, violent, and as criminals despite the fact that the vast majority of them are not.


2. Movies

  • Sideways gives an accurate depiction of depression. One of the movies main characters, Miles Raymond, is shown to exhibit several signs of depression, some of which include using substances alcohol in an attempt to cope with the failures and losses in his life, not having hope for his future, and having a consistently depressed mood.
  • Julien Donkey Boy gives an accurate depiction of schizophrenia. The movie features a man named Julien who exhibits several signs of schizophrenia. One of said signs includes having conversations with people who, in reality, are not actually there.

3. Television

Throughout the world of television mental illnesses have been showcased throughout the years within many programs; for example, the hit television show on the A&E network Hoarders, starts off with showcasing one or two individuals on their Obsessive compulsive disorder. Each individual would work with a psychologist or psychiatrist, professional organizer, or an" extreme cleaning specialist” which are individuals who specialize in treatment for this exact compulsive disorder. Mental illness and treatments using the media as a platform stated in" Issues of Mental Health p.593" The role of documentary shows like Hoarders in the change of classification is unclear. However, some believe the rise in awareness caused by them was a significant contributing factor.> The article also stated that with the rise of" Hoarder” becoming a" buzzword” it began to command significant amount of professional attention.

Intervention, another program on the A&E network, also focuses on mental illness but, in this program it introduces the aspect of substance abuse. This program, like Hoarders follows the story on either one or two individuals who suffer from substance dependence and we are then taken into their day-to-day lives living with this dependence. Later the individual with the addiction is then given an ultimatum in which they decide the future of their well-being. For example, they would either go to rehabilitation or risk losing family, friends, shelter and in most cases financial assistance. The documentary style television program also brought in celebrity subjects to draw more attention to how important and powerful an intervention can affect anyone. What this show educates the viewers about was the intervention process - being introduced to the intervention process and the way to properly handle an individual with addiction. This television program also eased the stigma on therapy; but more specifically the stigma on the effectiveness of interventions.


3.1. Television Childrens Television

Childrens television programs contain references to mental illnesses. A study conducted on a variety of New Zealand Childrens television shows showed that a mental illness reference appeared in 59 out of 128 episodes studied. 159 mental illness references where contained in the 59 episodes. The 159 references consisted of vocabulary and character descriptions. The terms "mad", "crazy, and "losing your mind" were above the three most common vocabulary references. Character descriptions consisted of disfigured facial features as well as disfigured extremities.


4. Social media

Main article: Cyberbullying

Mental illness is often discussed on social media and several studies have noted a link between it and severe psychiatric disorders. Studies such as one in 1998 led by Robert E. Kraut indicated that Internet can have an impact on a persons daily life and that increased amounts of time online can have a detrimental impact on interpersonal relationships and social interactions, which can in turn lead to increased depression and alienation.

Today, social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram have increased the amount of personal interaction with other users. There is current research that explores the role social media has in assisting people find resources and networks to support ones mental health. The interconnectivity between users through social media has encouraged many to seek help with professionals while also reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Though these claims are still being researched, there is a notable rise in communication within social media as a whole.

The Scottish Health Survey conducted a study monitoring screen time and mental health in individuals. The research concluded that adults ages 16-99 who watch TV more than three hours a day were more likely to have poor mental health. 3 hours or more of television or screen time in children lead to a downward trend in mental health positivity. The study concluded that there is a correlation between screen time and a decline in mental health.


5. Statistics

The following list of statistics was obtained from studies done in the United Kingdom.

  • 95% of minors who are imprisoned have at least one mental disorder; many of them are suffering from more than one.
  • 3.3% of those between the ages of 5 and 16 have a type of anxiety disorder.
  • About 46.4% of adults will have experienced a mental illness during their lifetime within the United States.
  • 1.5% of those aged between 5 and 16 years have a severe form of ADHD.
  • Nearly 80.000 minors suffer from severe depression; over 8.000 of them are under the age of 10.
  • Over the past decade the number of young persons hospitalized due to self-inflicted injuries has risen 68%.
  • 5.8% of those between 5 and 16 years have some form of conduct disorder.
  • Between the 1980s and 2000s the rate of mental illnesses in children doubled.
  • 72% of kids have some type of emotional or behavioral problem.
  • The proportion of minors with conduct disorder who were between the ages of 15 and 16 more than doubled between the years of 1974 and 1999.
  • 9.6% of people aged between 5 and 16 years have at least one form of mental illness.
  • 0.9% of all people aged between 5 and 16 years have a form of severe depression.
  • The number of people between the ages of 15 and 16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and 2000s.
  • Over 50% of adults with some form of mental illness were diagnosed as a child, and less than half of these people were treated properly at the time.
  • Between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 children are estimated to purposely self-harm.
  • 1 in 10 people between the ages of 5 and 16 suffer from some form of diagnosable mental illness.

  • A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment
  • Works of fiction dealing with mental illness include: Ajax, circa 450 430 BC tragedy by Sophocles Heracles, 416 BC tragedy by Euripides and Hercules
  • Many films have portrayed mental disorders or have used them as backdrops for other themes. This is a list of some of those films, sorted by disorder
  • Conceptually, mental insanity also is associated with the biological phenomenon of contagion that mental illness is infectious as in the case of copycat
  • broke society s taboo on talking about the illness and praised the sensitive way in which the illness was portrayed The fellowship said the story did more
  • mental health problems, free of many of the cliches that often inform how mental illness is portrayed on TV, going on to say that Rae has a mental illness
  • includes mental illnesses in some contexts the term is used specifically to denote any illness injury, or disease except for mental illnesses The Diagnostic
  • disorder and illness anxiety disorder. Hypochondria is often characterized by fears that minor bodily or mental symptoms may indicate a serious illness constant
  • those with mental illness and in 2009 she met with New Jersey state lawmakers to discuss how to improve that state s mental health care system. In 2012, she
  • depiction of disability in the media plays a major role in molding the public perception of disability. Perceptions portrayed in the media directly influence
  • detriment of, or without regard to, the interests of the women portrayed or women in general. This process includes the presentation of women as sexual