Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Media's role in mental illness

Last Sunday on Facebook, I was happy to display a ribbon promoting awareness of mental illness on my page. There is an amazing amount of ignorance against mental illness and most of it is perpetuated and stoked up by an irresponsible media who care more about newspaper sales than the truth.... with banner headlines such as "Knife wielding Schizo kills" instead of "Knife wielding Sociopath kills" (Sociopaths aren't mentally ill. They have a personality disorder and are in full control of their reasoning). The old chestnut. Mental illness equated with violence and homosexuality equated with paedophilia or AIDS.

When it comes to portraying mental conditions in the media, glaring headlines, or two-page spreads in tabloid newspapers screaming "Knife Wielding Schizo kills", it seems, sells more papers than reporting the truth concerning every day struggles for those with a condition, and how it has affected any individual with it.

You may answer "Yeah, but it sells newspapers dunnit?". It might do, but it is also a sad reflection of our society. Nowadays, sensationalism, witch-hunting and distortion matter more than the fact and truth. However, you blame the people who buy the newspapers as much as the individuals who put out this genre of reporting.

Whilst sensationalism sells newspapers, it also serves to inflame bigotry and prejudice against those with mental illnesses and neurological conditions. It leads to incorrect stereotypes formed in the minds of readers.


Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

I buy the newspapers for information. Entertainment is at best a lower-order priority. I also buy the newspapers to feel empathy with my fellow citizens and the people around the world.

A lot of the information about mental conditions is free or nearly free. All it takes is half an hour of your time.

Hopefully you can borrow a "living book" where you can ask the questions you want to know.

Is it any way true that someone with Anti Social Personality has their reason split from their emotions, specifically those from other people, and that this plays a part in their criminiality?

I have always found your mental health articles to be especially educational. Gavin Bollard has some good ones too.

4 March 2010 at 00:50  

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