Mental Health in the Media


Lilly Kirk, Staff Writer








It hits harder when the words are put clearly in front of you.

A study conducted by the National Mental Health Association found that 70 percent of the public get their information about mental health from the television. Several movies, shows, and even advertisements portray people with mental illnesses as being on the extreme end and not having the ability to recover. Many of these mediums illustrate the mainstream picture of ridiculous, overrated stereotypes that can be offensive to those who actually suffer from these issues.

Reality is: depression is not always a dainty, white teenage girl crying in her bedroom corner in the middle of the night listening to sad music. Eating disorder victims are not all anorexic people of skin and bones refusing to eat. Not all victims of self harm  cut their wrists when something goes wrong.

In fact, most who suffer from depression are extremely good at hiding the cloud they constantly feel hanging over their heads. The reality of most eating disorders is shoving your fingers down the throat in front of the toilet after binging a meal. Self inflicted injury is an addiction and many perform different kinds of abnegation such as picking or burning skin, abusing drugs, pulling out hair, or performing any kind of harm to oneself.

Due to the misrepresentation of mental health conditions, many view mental illness as a weakness of one’s character, which can hold someone back from asking for help because it makes them feel ashamed. Mental illness is not something one chooses to suffer from. Most cases of mental illnesses are diagnosed due to a history of abuse and/or trauma, physical illness, or simply genetics.

In order to reduce this stigma attached to mental illness, filmmakers need to research the accuracy of the conditions portrayed on the screen and show more characters that recover.