Does Popular Culture Demonize Mental Illness?

 

In short yes, but not in my opinion on purpose but more because of ignorance and laziness.

I recently saw Suicide Squad in cinema (which I very much enjoyed) and have loved DC and its villains for years but the movie did have me thinking about the how many bad guys are just called “crazy”.

 

The whole reason for their evil deeds is because they are schizophrenic, have multiple personalities or some other mental illness and this is used to explain away the motive.

 

These representations of mental illnesses such as these are very simplistic and show only a fraction of what people with these actual conditions may do or be affected by their illness.

 

Even in the real news, they will report that some criminal has mental health problems without any elaboration or further information on mental illness.

This allows the audience who for the most part have very limited knowledge on mental health to conjure up any amount of images of this “psychopath”.

 

The words crazy, psycho and many other real illnesses are also used very flippantly to describe all sorts of people most of whom have no form of mental illness but just act in bad ways. Mental illness, therefore, becomes associated with negativity.

 

This effects those, like myself, who have the mental illness by building stigma and fear towards those with mental health but also making it harder for people with mental health problems to talk about their difficulties without fear.

 

I believe in order to fix this we need to eliminate the lack of knowledge. The lack of education about mental health is very worrying considering that 1 in 4 people in the UK alone will have some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime.
Not many people understand that every mental illness is different for everyone and can challenge them in different ways every day.

 

Ignorance is problematic when it comes to mental illness and until we realise that education on mental health is necessary at schools we will never truly have the world that can deal effectively with mental health issues.

 

For more information, you can look at:

 

http://www.mind.org.uk/

 

It’s simplistic, easy to navigate and useful for all sorts of info.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Nancy xx

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