by: Eric M. Kussin

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17 July 2018

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The Media’s Formula That Perpetuates The Mental Health Stigma

Felt it was impt to dive deeper on this topic from a wk ago. If you’re reading this, you’re likely well-read on MH; NOT the “typical profile” of a person the media is manipulating w these msgs. But think abt “everyone else” out there. Think abt how they (the majority) are being fed this topic.
 
The media’s formula is simple: Celebrity Name + Disorder Name + Catastrophe/Erratic Behavior = more eyeballs. We wonder why more personalities speak up, yet a) the stigma still remains, & b) many still don’t ask for help.
 
Read an article today in Vox. One of the sections was titled: “The Stigma of Mental Illness Has Led to Bad Media Habits.” Well I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but regardless the media’s absolutely a big part of this epidemic spiraling the way it has. I do applaud this writer for calling out his peers.
 
Look at the message the media is sending – summed up on this slide: not as it’s seen thru your eyes, but thru the eyes of the MAJORITY of the population.
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Our society is being led to believe: there are 2 buckets 1) the mentally ill ppl, & 2) the normal ppl (80%). Every time a new story of a celeb revealing their “disorder” comes out, the media (& those not closely following MH), place those folks in the pink bucket, mentally ill. You can name the celebs & the behavior they prey on, from: Britney Spears “going off the rails,” to Kate Spade’s suicide.
 
Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I feel compelled to say it: w the media controlling the mass messaging, more celebs revealing their MH disorders has actually made the stigma worse. Not the fault of the celebs. But instead, what’s covered. Where are the stories abt the “normalcy” of the symptoms these celebs face? The treatments they are getting that are working? Stories abt other celebs who don’t have “disorder” but who say: I feel like that some days too?
 
Until we hold our media accountable to discuss details, symptoms, treatments, programs WITHIN the disorder stories, we’re going to have a tough time erasing this stigma & getting ppl the help they need.

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