The misrepresentation of mental illnesses by the media

Financial matters aside, this headline provides yet another example of the gross miscategorization of the mentally ill in popular media. I cringe when I see words like "schizophrenia" or "bipolar" used in news stories about politics, finance or sports teams. They do nothing but contribute to misunderstanding of mental disease and stigmatization of the mentally ill.

The misrepresentation of mental illnesses by the media

This paper will focus on electronic sources like the news, several movies, and television shows. A study conducted by Philo et al. What this study found was that two-fifths of the population believed violence and mental illness were connected.

Furthermore, the majority of the other three-fifths of the population based their answers off of personal experiences with mental illness and violence Anderson Media changes our perceptions and has some control over the way we view the world, this is true regarding mental illness.

Mental Health Issues Can be Misrepresented on Film, TV

All types of media discuss mental illness prominently. They found that out of programs during one month, 35 depicted mental illness. This means that about 9 percent of local stations programs include a character with a mental illness. This area of study, media representation of mental illness, is a growing field.

Mostly researched through cultural and media studies, but also by healthcare professionals. In this paper I will prove that media misrepresents mental illness, this misrepresentation of mental illness causes a negative public view towards the mentally ill, and that the negative public view has a negative impact on individuals who suffer from mental illness.

I will also provide information on the counterargument that The misrepresentation of mental illnesses by the media is not the sole cause of this negative public view and stigma towards the mentally ill.

The misrepresentation of mental illnesses by the media

Lastly, I will discuss solutions to the social problem. Not only is mental illness portrayed to be must more common that it is in reality in the media, it also reinforces negative stereotypes towards people with mental illness.

An example of how media misrepresents the rate of mental illness is a study done by Mary Cassata She found that in daytime soaps, psychiatric illness is the most represented health problem.

Inin a study of fourteen daytime TV shows found that While the media has a large representation of mental illness, it is also represented in professional journals.

But, the general public receives almost all information regarding mental illness through the media. Along with the fact that the media is where individuals are getting their information, it is also an untrue representation of the correlation between violence and mental illness.

The mentally ill are often shown as villains or murderers; mentally ill characters are the group most likely to be assigned the role of the violent villain.

The misrepresentation of mental illnesses by the media

Furthermore, mentally ill characters are the only group to have a villain-to-hero ratio greater than one. This means that more often than not, a person depicted with a mental illness is also depicted as a villain.

Furthermore, a study conducted by Jum Nunnally s sampled various types of media and interviewed mental health professionals. Nunnally found that what mental health professionals said should be portrayed in the media differed greatly from what is actually portrayed in the media.

And by competent, the producers were looking for more actors who looked unusual enough to be mental patients in the movie. The media uses mental illness as an excuse to illustrate terrible violence.

Therefore, it is not a mistake that media misrepresents the correlation of mental illness and violence. While I have mentioned previous studies that prove the misrepresentation of mental illness in the media, there are just as many, if not more studies regarding how this misrepresentation affects the viewpoint of the audiences.

A theory that explains this phenomenon is known as the cultivation theory.

Portrayal of mental illness in the media, TV and newspapers | Time To Change According to the National Institute of Mental Healthabout one in four adults, suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. But, when portrayed in film and television shows, mental health issues are often depicted erroneously.
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Preventive Medicine Blog: Misrepresentation of Mental Illness Is Major Problem for Mainstream Media They review and reflect on some of the ways mental health has been portrayed in the media, including TV episodes and newspaper articles.
Mental Health Issues Can be Misrepresented on Film, TV These are the opening scenes from Wonderland, a drama set in the psychiatric and emergency room units of a New York City hospital.

This theory was composed by Gerbner and suggests that watching television has long-term effects on audiences.

These long-term effects include an acceptance by the audience of beliefs, values, and perspectives that is portrayed by the media.

The cultivation theory attempts to explain how television viewing affects society. The study was conducted by asking college students read a newspaper report regarding a mental patient who committed a violent crime and found that negative media reports, like this one, contributes to societies negative perceptions towards individuals suffering with mental illness.

New and Noteworthy

This is seen time and time again. A specific example is following the case of Michael Ryan who committed homicide.

Even though his mental state was unknown, a study by Applyby and Wessely found a significant rise in stigma towards the mentally ill.

Participants in the study were more inclined to believe that horrific crimes are likely to be committed by someone who suffers from a mental illness.

Approximately 6 months after the homicide they repeated the study and found that the increase did not exist.

Let's end mental health discrimination

The way that the media blamed the homicide on mental illness caused an increase in stigma but once the media died down, the public view followed.“Studies have found that dangerousness/crime is the most common theme of stories on mental illness,” said Cheryl K.

Olson, Sc.D., co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at. Misrepresentation of Mental Illnesses by Television Media To eliminate the partial representation of mental illnesses, television media needs to focus on all sides of this illness.

The media needs to show that attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a legitimate disorder with effective treatments.

Mental Illness in the Media | Meg Cummins -

Devin Byrd, associate professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at South University — Savannah, says the misrepresentation of mental health issues in the media is fairly common and is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of mental health disorders and how they present themselves.

By Kayt Sukel. Facing stigma can be one of the most challenging aspects of living with a mental illness. Beyond the symptoms of your condition, you also have to deal with the set of negative (and often exaggerated or inaccurate) beliefs that society has about your illness. How Mental Illness is Misrepresented in the Media.

Insidious portrayals on TV shape perceptions about real-life people with psychological disorders. Probably the most disparaging stigmatizations of mental illness in media lie in the film portrayals of antagonists with mental illness.

In particular, characters with schizophrenia are presented as “homicidal maniacs” in “slasher” or “psycho killer” movies.

Portrayal of mental illness in the media, TV and newspapers | Time To Change