Mistaken Media (stigma)

For today's post, I'll be focusing on stigma again. Recently in class there are a few things about mental health which have come up and which I feel need addressing.

1. Schizophrenia - I feel I need to reiterate again, as it was mentioned in my ethics class, that the media portrayal of schizophrenia is not the true portrayal of the majority of those with the condition; it is not a horror movie. The campaign Time To Change addresses this in more detail, in this video. Rethink has also written a Q&A on dispelling the myths, here.

2. Medication - Many presume that those on medication are those with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. However, there are many out there that are on medication for things such as anxiety and depression too. Medication can help a range of mental illnesses and it may surprize you how many people have been or are on medication to help with their condition.

3. Types - There are so many different types of mental illness out there, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, health anxiety, manic depression, GAD and so forth alongside those which are often portrayed in the media. Often anxiety is disregarded and sometimes depression is too. It's important to reiterate that all are mental illnesses. They all can require counselling, medication and other methods to improve. 

4. Stereotypes - Again, the media is painting a negative image of mental illnesses. Those who go to institutions are not thrown into the back of a van in a straight jacket never to be let out again. Firstly, there are many people that are going to school and work that have a mental illness. Secondly, those who go to mental institutions, are often there voluntarily and if not, aren't taken in a straight jacket. 

5. One in four of us - mental illness is common. 1/4 people in any one year will become mentally ill. Highly likely the person you're sat next to may have a mental illness that they aren't speaking about. Your friend could have a mental illness and you not even know. Don't forget to ask them how they are now and then; it all helps. People are very good at hiding it, but it can be just as destructive as a physical illness.

It appears that the media has a massive influence on the view we have on mental illness and this is why it is so great that there are campaigns such as that of Time To Change. The media often portrays blood, guts and gore and people in straight jackets. This is not the case. It's also important to remember that those with mental illnesses are more likely to victimised by violent crime than be violent themselves. Please, spread the word and dispel the myths; you'll even be fighting the stigma if you share this post. Perhaps this image will be 'food for thought'?

Best Wishes,