Mental Illness, Mental Illness Stigma, Media


Health Communication | Psychology | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Psychology


The aim of this paper is to explore mental illness stigma and one of its primary causes, the media. Essentially the paper looks at various forms of media (e.g., prime time television, children’s programming, news media) and how they create negative perceptions of both mentally ill individuals, and those who help treat them. Previous research has shown that those with a mental illness are often depicted as violent and socially undesirable by the media. Other previous research has shown that those who treat mental illness are often depicted as unprofessional and untrustworthy by the media, creating a strong negative stigma surrounding treatment seeking. The previous research focused on treatment seeking has shown that those with high levels of self-stigma often feel less inclined to seek help from a professional. This concept has been explored by previous research, which has examined the role that the media plays in creating this sense of self-stigma. A small amount of research has shown that the media can directly impact negative views of mental health professionals and create a sense of self-stigma. Future studies need to expand on this concept to further validate the idea that the media can influence help seeking behaviors. Future research should explore the ways in which the media impacts mental illness, with the ultimate goal of reducing stigma in mind.

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