How I see how Mental Illness is portrayed by the Media

This is the 5th blog in a series about Awareness of Mental Health Problems.

These blogs are written based on work I completed for my mental health studies, of which the majority is written from the heart and based on my own personal experiences of poor mental health.

This part is based on how I feel mental illness is portrayed by the media in films and newspapers and how that coverage can influence attitudes in the general public.

How do I think mental illness has been portrayed by the media in films and newspapers?


Usually in a dramatic, negative way.  Some of the films portray people as ‘mad’, being out of control, causing both emotional and physical damage to people and physical damage to other people’s items.  On the whole, it makes those watching the films, fear mental illness as the people are portrayed as dangerous.


Again, usually in a dramatic, negative way, causing destruction and damage in their path, especially the sensationalised stories of celebrities ‘going off the rails’.

I feel there is some changes but positive reports are small and inconsistent, and easily forgotten with some sensational, poorly, worded headline along the lines of ‘Bonkers Boris causes Bedlam’ or ‘Made Justin hits fans!’

There appears to be no portrayal that these people are suffering in some way and need help, and so the people reading (and believing) the paper will not see this.

How does media coverage influence the attitudes of the general public?

If media coverage can affect people’s attitudes and beliefs in a negative way, it can do the same in a positive way.

Media coverage could do this by high-lighting positive success stories of people over-coming mental ill health to achieve something and so be a positive role model for others.

The stories could also be about how a mental health condition could be used to be an advantage of success, for instance, someone with OCD tendencies using that to be a success because an actor wants the lines to be absolutely correct, or the goal-scorer always scoring the goals.

If more ‘celebrities’ spoke out like those of Stephen Fry just recently, then people would follow and share their stories.

If you want to talk about your own mental ill health, learn about some natural therapies to help cope with mental ill health, or learn about mental health awareness and first aid, then please get in touch.

PlumEssence is based in ST18 near Stafford, and easily accessible for Rugeley, Cannock, Hednesford, Hixon, Uttoxetor, Trentam and surrounding areas.

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