by: Eric M. Kussin

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05 November 2018

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The Media Formula For Mental Health Stories

Britney Spears + Major Anxiety = Shaves Her Head. Dave Chappelle + $50Million Breakdown = Leaves The Country

 

That “Crazy” headline that is underlined in the pic is straight from an article you can google online. Written & published. The pics are just from stories I’ve remembered over the past decade+ or so.

 

We tell ppl there are “1 in 5” w disorders. Then when our media tells the story of celebs dealing w mental health complications, they tell the story of erratic behaviors & how “success” has gotten to them, & which disorder name they are dealing with.  THIS is what the masses then think of related to those disorders, if they haven’t done research, themselves. The media explanations are their education. Then, we wonder why, when we discuss mental health generally, ppl tune out & say – that’s not me.

 

These behaviors can be tied back to stresses – life stresses. And while most of us can’t relate to $50million in stress, or having to perform in front of 50k ppl, we can relate to pressure to: perform at deadlines for work, show that the new salary we earned is something we are deserving of, keep it together when things in our families feel like they’re falling apart.

 

The paradigm shift must come from us, collectively, as everyday ppl, agencies, & nonprofits, to better explain these stories, & show how common our life challenges are – not sensationalize erratic behaviors and make them synonymous with how “those ppl with disorder” all start to act.  Mental health complications are not what make us movie characters. They’re what make us human.

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