Mental Illness In The Media

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Mental illness has been a part of human society for as long as we have existed, affecting countless individuals, families, and communities. Yet, even with its prevalence and major advancements in treatments and knowledge, people still treat it with prejudice and stigma. A recent issue that has arisen with the easier accessibility to information has been that the way the media chooses to portray mental illness greatly affects the public’s opinion of people with these illnesses. The problem with this is that the mass media generally depicts mental illnesses in a negative light, using mental disorders as attention grabbing gimmicks and concentrating mainly on the mental illness aspect of violent acts, leading the public to believe that all persons …show more content…
In fact, mental health experts believe that “news media depictions of violent persons with serious mental illness contribute to the public’s negative attitudes towards persons with serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder” (498). News …show more content…
Research funds to gain higher understanding of the causes and treatments for mental illnesses are seriously lagging behind those provided for the research of physical illnesses (x). This shows that the public’s common belief is that mental illnesses are not as real as physical ones.
Right now, it is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of homeless people suffer from some of the most serious forms of mental illnesses, like schizophrenia (xiii). It is believed that one of the major causes of homelessness is in fact caused by the lack of medical care for persons with psychological disorders.
One of the most serious problems right now is the fact that prisons have “become the biggest mental facilities in the United States”, this is fueled by the tendencies to criminalize mental illnesses (xiii). Care for the mentally ill is incredibly inadequate in prisons, the correction officers are rarely trained to deal with the special needs of these individuals, and there is also the problem that exposure to violence has the tendency to worsen the prognosis (xiii). The solution of sending people with mental illnesses straight to prison after committing a crime without considering the fact that what they really need is actually medical care instead of harsh punishment proves that these illnesses are

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