How can media affect people's perception of mental illness?

Ellen Frudakis
Health Education
With the exception of a few movies, television shows, and an occasional personal interest story in the press, people with mental illness are generally portrayed negatively in the media. For people with mental illnesses, being portrayed in public as "dangerous," "irresponsible," "unreliable," or "odd" can make us feel like we have two choices: either deny the existence of the illness or keep quiet. If we lack positive role models, many times we lack the ability to accept the illness. This, in turn, makes it much harder for those around you to accept it.

Unfortunately, unless they know someone or have personal experience, the media is the primary source of education about mental illness for the general public. So, if you have this illness, it makes sense that you would worry about how others will perceive you. It is hard to put yourself out there if you feel like you will be judged and misunderstood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.