Mental Health in Media

It disgusts me how the media tends to paint a very distorted image of those suffering from mental illness. What makes me most angry is that the media blows one incident out of proportion and focuses on all the times when such kinds of individuals have been violent, rather than on the times they have NOT been violent. They portray these individuals to have been ‘strange’, ‘aloof’, and ‘not quite present’, during their lifetime, among some of the terms I have heard, suggesting that ALL people with poor mental health possess the same character profile. The media very wrongly associates mental illness with bizarre and violent behaviors.

Inevitably, the prevalence of the media in everyday life is bound to create a very distorted representation of mental illness in people’s minds. The general population, out of no fault of theirs, gets the idea that all those suffering from mental illness are misanthropic, antisocial, violent human-beings. This only creates further problems, for those who are capable of offering help tend to run away from suffering individuals, further barring them from receiving the support and treatment they urgently need.

I want to set the truth straight. It is the truth that individuals suffering from mental illness are far more likely to be VICTIMS of violence, rather than perpetrators of violence. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the vast majority of people who are violent do NOT suffer from mental illnesses. Also, the fact that there are so many different types and intensities of mental disorders makes the media’s generalizations completely invalid, and to be honest, ridiculous in every single way.

We cannot generalize and say that mental illness gives birth to murderers. We must remember that there are all kinds of individuals, and that most individuals suffering from mental illness do not commit heinous deeds, such as the one committed at UCLA on June 1, 2016. Instead of portraying such individuals as citizens of another world and isolating them, we must focus on giving them the help they need, so they do not feel ashamed to seek treatment and no more incidents such as this recent one take place.

My heart goes out to those affected by the murder-suicide at UCLA and the countless other incidents that have occurred in the past. I honestly don’t have any explanation for why these kinds of things happen, and I can only hope you find peace in knowing that your loved ones will always be with you and never forgotten. I am incredibly sorry for your loss.

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