Media vs Reality

I thought this video was interesting to see a side by side comparison of what the media portrays and what may be some people’s personal experience with that mental illness. It’s almost never accurate and just further’s the stigma of mental illness, but also causes fear for those suffering with a mental illness. Not being sure what’s going on in yourself is hard enough, let alone being afraid to seek help because of stigma.


Violence and Mental Illness


This article touches on how the media links violence and mental illness together. It says, “Since so many Americans obtain their view of the world through movies, television, and the news media, however, the perpetuation of this and other exaggerated stereotypes of mentally ill people reinforces culturewide stigmatization.” Unfortunately, the media is the main source of information for many people today. If you have no background in psychology or in the medical field, the majority of mental illness information comes from whatever the media spews out. There is a huge disparity between the actual % of people with a mental illness who commit these violent crimes versus how often the media links the two without proper evidence. Why do you think the media does this? Is it ratings? Is it fear?


Shameless is a great show that is very popular the last few years. It portrays bipolar in the character Ian very well. Although I think it shows the mania and depression, I think it can be dramatized to fit the need of the show. For example, Ian fakes his brother Lip’s identity to get into the military since he wasn’t 18. He also steals a helicopter, but seems to just get away with it. Some of the scenes can make it seem like people with bipolar disorder are unpredictable, emotional, dangerous, and violent. Although this isn’t the goal, for someone who knows nothing about bipolar disorder it may come off the wrong way.

Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted is a movie based on the memoir by Susanna Kaysen. Susanna was admitted into Claymore Hospital with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. There are several other people that are seen in the movie, but their specific diagnoses are not known. The movie does do a good job of portraying various symptoms of mental illness and showing the struggle patients felt in a time when mental illness was not very well understood. I encourage everyone to check out this book and movie, unfortunately there are too many expletives to post videos, but it truly is a great movie.

This article discusses Susanna’s diagnosis of BPD and whether it is true BPD or not.

News Coverage and Mental Illness

The news is one of the worst culprits when it comes to poor coverage on mental illness. This article shows how the media tends to link violence and mental illness together, specifically gun violence. The media is very quick to label those who commit an act of violence leading to a tragedy as mentally ill without providing proper evidence first. Making such quick claims without actual evidence links violence and mental illness together with no real support. As you can imagine, that creates a terrible social stigma for anyone who is diagnosed with a mental illness. Stigma is the greatest barrier between mental illness and seeking treatment. Instead of focusing on treatment programs and recovery, the focus is put on violence and ends up isolating this population from the rest of society due to misguided fear.

A Beautiful Mind


For this weblog entry, I’d like to focus on a clip from a movie and see your reactions to it. The movies and tv shows we watch play a huge role in how we view mental illness and mental health, so it is important to analyze what we are watching to see if it is accurate or generalizing mental illness and creating stigma. This video clip is from the popular movie, A Beautiful Mind. The main character has schizophrenia and this scene depicts his mental illness.

What are some things that you would think of schizophrenia and those diagnosed with it after watching this clip?