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There is a lot about mental health in the media, it is portrayed in many different ways in the media. However it is now becoming more mental health-friendly than it was before where there was a lot of stigma in the media towards mental illness and those who suffer with illnesses. I feel that the media have a big influence on how mental illness is portrayed and viewed by the public.
It is due to the coverage which media has now given mental illness, that there is arguably lower stigma than was initially surrounding mental illness. It is now being covered in TV shows and dramas. They are having characters which have got a mental illness, and they are displaying the difficulties which someone with mental health issues can go through and the challenges which they face. It is due to high coverage of mental health in the media and on TV that more and more people are finding it easier to come out and talk about their illness and they no longer feel ashamed about their illness.
It can still be common for people to see mental health in the papers, news or on a TV programme and still hold the old stigma. For example, seeing someone committing crimes in the paper or on the news there is still minority which will look at that, and say the person must have ‘something wrong with them’, or ‘they are gone in the head’. It can also be common place that a majority of the criminals may have a mental illness, however just because someone has committed a crime does not make them mentally unstable or mean they have a mental illness.
The media are also beginning to show a more sympathetic side to showing mental illness, even when it is the person has committed a crime. They are showing that the person is being helped in any way possible to help them and further understand their illness. I feel that a lot more is also now being done to help people with mental illness and how they are seen from the perspective of the public. However, those who are suffering with mental illness may still feel they are being stereotyped and labelled and due to the old portrayal of mental illness. With the coverage with which mental illness is getting now, these old ways are being distinguished. But it doesn’t help how someone may feel they are being seen.
It is at this point that more reassurance needs to be given to anyone who is suffering from mental illness and sees the labels and stigma as they used to be. I feel that 100 per cent reassurance will never be achieved as people with anxiety maybe harder to reassure depending on their beliefs and thoughts. Patience is also a major factor to consider when talking or dealing with someone who is suffering with mental illness, patience will be beneficial to building a rapport and relationship up with the person.
I feel media and TV has done a great thing for mental illness and raising the awareness, however as mentioned, I feel now a better understanding is now required, reassurance for those who suffer with mental illness and a lot of patience to help build the relationship up, as at present I feel there is minor divide between people who suffer from mental illness, and those who aren’t aware as much and see people with mental illnesses.
Dale Burden is a correspondent for Psychreg. He holds a dual honours degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from Keele University.
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