I have a bone to pick with Hollywood…
I’m tired of them misrepresenting mental illness.
Now I’m coming from a place of someone who hasn’t struggled with any mental illnesses, so I’m going to try to stay in my lane. Every time I’ve watched a Youtube video in the past week, there’s been an ad for the new movie “Split” beforehand. If you haven’t seen the trailer, I wouldn’t suggest looking it up. Basically the gist is a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder kidnaps young girls and his different alters torture them.
Mental illness is not something to joke about at others expense. Perpetuating stereotypes only hurts those with mental illness. I believe everyone deserves representation that shows the hardships of what they go through without enforcing harmful stereotypes. It’s hard enough for someone to deal with mental illness, they don’t need to deal with society making light of their situation or invalidating it.
I want to see disorders like DID or BPD being portrayed in film and television by people who have those disorders, and in a respectful manner. I think including mental illnesses into shows should be educational, and help those who don’t have experience with them learn more. We can’t break the stigma of mental illness if we sit back and let Hollywood make fun of it and exploit it.
Having friends and family members who struggle with severe depression, I don’t want to see another “gloomy teen” who “just needs to snap out of it.” 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. live with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and yet they still don’t have accurate representation. The media needs to have a continuous conversation about mental illness.
Young people often look to the media for an example of what they should look like or act like, and representation is important. It’s hard for young people with any type of chronic illness, mental or physical, to see what their futures will be like, when they don’t have any examples. When I was going to high school I knew so many people who struggled with anxiety and depression. It wasn’t just a “down day,” it was an everyday battle to stay motivated and make it to school. Unfortunately the education system isn’t very accommodating for those they can’t fit in a box.
What do you think our society can do to end the stigma around mental illness? Do you think it’s okay for the media to perpetuate stereotypes behind mental illness? Let me know your thoughts and opinions!
Lots of Love,