Mental Media Essay

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Mental illness can be defined as a variety of disorders within the brain that can affect an individual’s mood, way of thinking and behaviour. These illnesses are caused by biological, psychological and sociological influences. Mental illnesses have become more prominent throughout communities while the seeking for help or a cure has appeared to become less evident. In today’s society, mental illnesses are portrayed through various media platforms in a way that causes such a stigma around the illness that it affects those who suffer almost as much as the illness itself. The portrayal of mental illness in today’s media is from a negative viewpoint. Research shows that those who suffer from mental illnesses fall under one of three misconceptions;…show more content…
These categories came into existence when the media began to portray those who suffer from mental illnesses as violent and aggressive people. Due to the presence of media being everywhere in today’s society, these stigmatizations have had a “deleterious effect” on those who suffer in many aspects of their lives such as being able to get jobs or housing to live in (Corrigan et al., 2002). Studies have shown that around 86 percent of stories in the media about the mentally ill are portrayed in a way that focuses on violence (Corrigan, Markowitz, & Watson, 2004). These portrayals are negative, yet they continue to be used in all forms of media. Although there has not yet been much research on the impact of social media towards mental illnesses, the damage still occurs through platforms such as television,…show more content…
Research has shown that “instead of being diminished by the stigma, many persons become righteously angry because of the prejudice that they have experienced” (Corrigan et al., 2002). This proves that it is not the illness that may cause an individual to become violent or aggressive as the media portrays, but rather it is the stigma and the prejudice that these individuals experience that push them to become angry and potentially violent. In 1996, a survey was administered to 1444 American adults by the Mac Arthur Mental Health Module to gather information on the stigmatization of mental illnesses. More than half of that sample agreed that they are unwilling to work next to, attend a social gathering with or have a family member marry somebody who suffers from a mental illness (Corrigan et al., 2002). This is a severe problem in today’s society. Not all countries have such a large stigma surrounding those who suffer, but it is more evident within Western cultures as opposed to non-Western cultures. It is believed that other cultures have less of a stigma surrounding mental illnesses because there is “[a] lack of differentiation between psychiatric and non-psychiatric illness” (Corrigan et al., 2002). Although there may be that lack between the two illnesses types, it may be more beneficial for those who battle with
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