Mental Illness & The Media

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.

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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.

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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,

Alyssa

 

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6 thoughts on “Mental Illness & The Media

  1. I’m actually looking forward to the movie and seeing its portrayal of DID. Right now, I don’t know if it will be good or bad. I have done a lot of research about it in the last 6 weeks, but I know it’s not nearly enough. There are other movies out there that have DID, one being my all time favorite film “Fight Club”. I know there are more, I just don’t know the names of them offhand. I think one of the reasons there isn’t more about it in the film industry is because there is still very little known about it and it is very easy to fake. There have been plenty of criminals that claimed to have it, but were later caught in lying about it.

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    1. I hope it isn’t as bad as the trailer makes it seem. I just don’t think painting people with DID as perpetrators is okay. It plays to stereotypes, but having DID you’re more likely to be a victim if anything. I would like to see representation without the person having to be a perpetrator or victim.

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      1. In “Fight Club”, Edward Norton’s character is a victim of his own alternate personality. But I definitely get what you are saying and I would like to see that too. I’ve seen a lot of videos people suffering with DID that were suicidal because of it.

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    2. I also think it does bring a little awareness to the disorder. Not necessarily accurate, but it gets people talking about it and people will do their own research if they are smart enough to. Hollywood does glorify some disorders and diseases, but I think that is more on a the fault of the director and writers, not the actors or the industry as an entirety.

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