Examples Of Negative Mental Health Stereotypes

760 Words4 Pages

Negative mental health stigma and stereotypes are commonly perpetuated through tv shows and movies. Many groups of people are heavily affected by this from the mentally ill community to psychiatric workers to film writers. When trying to solve this issue, all opinions on the topic need to be taken into consideration. One of the main perspectives on this issue is commonly found from the people who suffer from mental illnesses. Perceived notions about their illnesses that commonly come from media portrayals are harmful to those who have the illnesses described. When the average person sees a character’s actions being explained by a mental illness, the average watcher will start to correlate that behavior with the mental illness. An example of …show more content…

An example of both would be The Good Doctor (2017). The plot involves Shaun Murphy, the main character who has autism and savant syndrome, being a surgeon while surrounded by other neurotypical doctors. Multiple times in the series it is questioned if Shaun can live alone, but he is also shown being the lead surgeon on many operations. He has essentially a photographic memory, but he has difficulty handling any situation that does not revolve around the medical field. These conflicting plot points, while interesting for the average viewer, are incredibly unrealistic and give improper ideas of how people with these conditions act. Every person with autism or a similar mental disorder does not need 24/7 supervision. Many can live fulfilling adult lives all by themselves and some do so without accommodations. Some characteristics from the show are accurate like Shaun’s difficulty with eye contact, his ticks, and repetitive speaking but most are blown out of proportion. Characters like Shaun Murphy, for example Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory (2007), correlate autism to savant syndrome when only a small number of people have both. The showing of both being connected in multiple forms of media causes the creation of a harmful …show more content…

Mental illness is an easy way to explain a character’s actions and it is more interesting to watch than an antagonist who has no apparent reason for their actions. Authors used to have revenge as the main motivator of their antagonists which quickly became a cliché due to how frequently the reasoning was used. A villain having a psychiatric disorder as the meaning to explain their cruel and horrific actions is relatively a recent thing in television or film with Psycho (1960) being the first well known example from either. Antagonists and their morals are easily some of the most appealing parts of a film or show. A person going on a mindless murderous rampage because of a family member or a friend being killed is a common occurrence in film. However, a person going on a murderous rampage because they are unable to control themselves due to a mental illness is a trope that is not as commonly used. If film writers must find other reasons for their characters to act in the negative ways that they do, it could be difficult to have the same shock factor that someone being unable to control themselves due to a mental illness gives. If creators are unable to use this trope and end up creating an uninteresting villain, they will lose money from the production of the film or show which could lead to them not being hired for other

More about Examples Of Negative Mental Health Stereotypes

Open Document