KEY QUESTION - Clinical Psychology

HOW ARE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA?

The way that mental ilnesses are portrayed in the media is said to greatly influence and educate the public.

> Signorielli (1989) > 72% of characters with mental health illnesses were shown to be violent during prime-time television.

> Other studies showed mental health patients to be unemployable or unemployed, or perhaps even failing at work.

> New Zealand study > theamatic analysis of mental health on television > found common themes such as aggression, danger, unpredictability, incompetence and childlike behaviour. Overall, mental illness was portrayed as 'outstandingly negative'.

DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE USING CONCEPTS, THEORIES AND RESEARCH DRAWN FROM CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY

> Levers (2001) > in a content analysis looking at 50 years of Hollywood films > mental illness is largely portrayed as passive, pathetic or comical. However, it is mostly shown as dangerous and those who have them require some form of restraints or invasive procedure. These views of mental illness do not represent the reality of them in society, but they do show how stereotypical the media can be. In reality, those with mental illnesses are more likely to become victims of violence than to be the perpetrators (as the media shows). 

> Attitudes to Mental Health (2013) > the media has been known to affect the way the general public perceive mental illness. Approximately one third of the public still believe that someone with a mental illness is prone to violence.

> Diefenbach (1997) > analysed prime-time television content in the USA over a 2 week duration. It was found that 32% of programmes had at least one character with a mental illness, of which they were 10 times more violent than the general population of television characters > 50% of violent offences committed by the mentally ill.

> Granello and Pauley (2000) > Intolerant attitudes towards people with mental illness were significantly and positively related to the amount…

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