Media's Representation of Mental Disabilities Persuasive Essay by scribbler

Media's Representation of Mental Disabilities
A discussion on how mentally ill individuals are stigmatized by the media.
# 152701 | 1,869 words | 3 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 19, 2013 in Communication (Mass Media) , Psychology (Disorders) , Sociology (Media and Society)

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The paper discusses media representation of mentally ill people as violent, homicidal characters and argues that this portrayal has a clear influence on public attitudes towards those with mental illness. The paper reveals that there is actually a weak link between mental illness and violent behavior and public opinion of the mentally ill as being dangerous leads to unfair stigmatization. The paper looks at one specific story reported in the media that highlights the stigma attached to those mentally ill.

From the Paper:

"Since so many Americans obtain their view of the world through movies, television, and the news media, however, the perpetuation of exaggerated stereotypes of mentally ill people reinforces culture wide stigmatization. Mental illness is often a poor forecaster of violence, ranking below other things such as youth, gender, violence history and poverty. Aside from people who abuse substances, people with mental illness commit violent acts at the same rate as non-patients, and 80 percent to 90 percent of people with mental illness never commit violent acts. It is felt that both the news and entertainment media share the blame in perpetuating these stereotypes (Levin, 2001).
"The media's supposition of a link between mental illness and violence is hard to sever, especially when the mainstream press reiterates falsehoods as if they were truths. This often alters a medical issue into a public safety issue and takes advantage of the fear of violence. The coverage in the news is bad enough, but novels, movies, and prime-time television often have similar attitudes about mentally ill people in refined, influential, emotional stories. In a lot of fiction, mental cases often commit violent crimes. Media stigmatization often has broader political implication, when public debates occur over issues like involuntary commitment or legal definitions that associate mental illness with criminal behavior."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Byrne, Peter. (2000). Stigma of mental illness and ways of diminishing it. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 6, p. 65-72.
  • Ganguli, Rohan. (2000). Mental illness and misconceptions. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from Post Gazette Web site:
  • Levin, Aaron. (2001). Violence and Mental Illness: Media Keep Myths Alive. Psychiatric News. 36(9), p.10.

Cite this Persuasive Essay:

APA Format

Media's Representation of Mental Disabilities (2013, April 19) Retrieved June 05, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Media's Representation of Mental Disabilities" 19 April 2013. Web. 05 June. 2023. <>