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Portrayals of Mental Health in Modern Media

With the rise of technologies that are commercially available to humans, so are the countless numbers of produced media. From television screens to smartphones, many shows and films are available to binge-watch on different streaming platforms. The abundance of these mediums within channels and the internet makes the audience to be informed while being entertained. Considered to be one of the discussed topics in recent years, issues about mental health are used as inspirations to make stories.

However, people in the show business, specifically those who produce and create shows and films do not always have the perfect ways in doing so. Some shows and films were identified as inaccurate portrayals of mental illness in the media, while few shows and films were named to be accurately portrayed. According to an article titled “Media and the portrayal of mental illness disorders” (2020), within the recorded numbers of media that tackle mental health, there are more distorted stories than the precise ones.

The media holds so much power that it can entertain, educate and even influence the minds and emotions of those who favor watching series that showcase their interpretation of mental health and mental illnesses. Stuart (2006) stated that the negative representation of those who are experiencing mental illness in the media creates a great effect. But the author also mentioned the positive sides of it as people are starting their conversations, gaining interest, and even exchanging debates with people around.

The stigma of mental health from the media still lingers around and can also affect the audience’s minds. And for us who watch the shows and/or films, we can have a better understanding of how these play in our society. It can be done by analyzing how media businesses can distribute topics about mental health.

Still, there are only a few available studies that talk about how media are handling their promotions for serious topics about mental illnesses that are featured in shows and films (Saleh, 2020). As media consumers, we should already be aware of what mental health is and how important it is for everyone. Presenting the reality of being diagnosed with mental illness can be tricky, but being the audience that’s been watching outside of the box, we can be mindful of the actions we can do to break the stigma.



Media and the portrayal of mental illness disorders. Integrative Life Center. (2020, November 18).

Naveed, N. (2020, June 2). How mental health issues are damaged by mass media. Verywell Mind.

Stuart, H. (2006). Media portrayal of mental illness and its treatments. CNS drugs, 20(2), 99-106


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