The Stereotypes Of Mental Illness

Submitted By kzellmann
Words: 1908
Pages: 8

A drama set in the psychiatric, emergency room unites of a New York City hospital was immediately canceled because of all the ratings, and heavy criticism from mental health groups, Wonderland, begins with a man who suffers from schizophrenia going on a shooting spree in Times Square and later stabs a pregnant physician in the stomach. Series like these portray a depressing life for people with mental illness, and groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) criticized its topic of hopelessness. This example of how media portrays mental illness is obvious. However, some stereotypes are not as obvious, like the news. For example, like what Margarita had said in her article, a local news program in Central Florida reported on a woman setting her son’s dog on fire. The reporter ended the segment by stating that the woman had been depressed recently. Whether it is a graphic depiction or an insinuating remark, the media often paint a grim and inaccurate picture. (Tartakovsky, Margarita) The stereotypes that are not as obvious have a huge influence on the public.
A survey of public attitudes towards mental illness was custom made by the college at the start of the campaign. This survey result showed that a majority of people believed that people with any kind of mental illness were unpredictable, difficult to communicate with and felt differently from ‘the rest of us’. This study also found that different kinds of mental illnesses have different types of prejudice and stereotypes. (Psychiatric Bulletin) The myths from media on the mental illness do not just damage the public perceptions but they also affect people with mental illnesses. The fear of the stereotypes can stop individuals from getting treatment. One study found that workers would rather say they committed a petty crime and spent time in jail than admit that they stayed at a psychiatric hospital. (Tartakovsky, Margarita)
Although people do like to blame media for the beliefs and stereotypes of people with a mental illness, media's portrayal of mental illness reflects what the public want to see. The media does not always want to show or tell you about the reality because that may not keep the audience watching. The television producers, newscasters, and journal writers will do whatever it takes to keep the targeted audience to keep watching. Whether that means to twist the truth, not accurately illustrate the reality or just plain lie.
One television show that I want to point out is Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds is an Emmy-nominated and award-winning show on CBS that is still playing and replaying daily on multiple cable channels .(Clyman, Jeremy) Criminal Minds is a show that has a group of FBI profilers consult on complex cases involving the most aggressive serial killers in society. The FBI creates psychological profiles of the suspects in order to better understand motives and predict future behavior. Almost every case that the FBI work on involves issues of trauma, sexual abuse, disability, insecure attachment styles, and a wide range of Axis I and Axis II disorders with OCD, and Anti-Social PD and Narcissistic PD being the most prevalent. Each episode’s killer is labeled with a disorder, the purpose of the Unit is to diagnose and assess the killer versus tracking him or her down, and all of the Unit’s members are well versed and oriented toward psychological ideas. In one episode, an undercover cop that is involved in a mob investigation goes missing and the BAU believes a serial killer with a mental illness has something to do with his disappearance rather than the mob. In that episode, I would say that it is showing a negative and inaccurate portrayal of people with a mental illness. It is showing that even though people in the mob are bad and are capable of that kind of crime, they think that it would be a person with a mental illness instead. Another television show is In Treatment. In Treatment is also an Emmy-awarding show on HBO,