Mental Illness In The Media Essay

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In 2008, an edition of Reader’s Digest published the joke “How do crazy people go through the forest? They take the psychopath” (qtd in Corrigan, Roe and Tsang). This is just one example of the many harmful, stigmatizing references to mental illness in the mass media. First of all, the magazine was using a serious mental illness to create a cheap pun and make some profits. Second, the joke uses the word “crazy”, which most often has negative connotations, in reference to a mental disorder. In the mainstream media, this is an all too common occurrence. Jokes make light of serious illnesses; people with mental disorders are shown as violent or dangerous. Portrayals of mental illness in the media can be harmful because they are often inaccurate and misleading and can promote negative stigma. When mental illness is portrayed in the media, the representations are often inaccurate and misleading. For example, When media depictions of obsessive-compulsive disorder were reviewed, less than 30% met psychiatric descriptions. A lot of these portrayals had close to no genuine obsessive-compulsive characteristics. (Rogers and Pilgrim 35-36). Most media representations are just used for comedy, and are not…show more content…
Many of the portrayals are unreliable and incorrect, and they often promote negative stigma. While some may be consistent with psychiatric definitions, most representations are still misleading and can give the wrong idea about mental illness. These representations can be very harmful for people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and are battling stigma every day. Mental health representation in the mass media is usually incorrect and often promotes negative stigma, making the lives of people living with mental illness that much more difficult. The media must improve these portrayals to avoid spreading false information and harmful

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