Essay Example on Mental Illness has been apart of many peoples lives for Centuries









Along with the mental illness there is a stigma that unfortueately comes with it This stigma can be found in many television and cinema films and in turn can influence millions of people every day This paper will examine some of the reasons mental illnesses receive prejudice and discrimination and how we as a society can change this stigma When it comes to mental illnesses or disorders not many people fully understand how these people act or why they act in the manner that they do Sadly this sometimes causes people to discriminate against them due to the fear of the unknown and lack of knowledge There was one study done to approximately 150 college students and the impact of one movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest The students were given a questionnaire before the movie was released that asked questions about mental illness About half of the students watched the film while the other half watched a documentary about mental illness After the students viewed either film they were given another questionnaire The results indicated a negative change in attitude towards mental illness after watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest while there was no change after watching the documentary 

These results indicate that the cinema has very influential powers over how people view the mentally ill Domino 1983 Oftentimes many people think the mentally ill are dangerous due to misconceptions of their behavior in medias stories Many times the media will paint violent perpetrators as mentally ill without any context This in turn causes society to have negative views of mentally ill people Friedman 2014 The thought of violence is a big reason why many people discriminate against the mentally ill A lot of the times people view the mentally ill as violent because the do not fully understand them One study done by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1998 showed that 70 of the people questioned claimed that schizophrenic patients were violent and unpredictable Byrne 2000 Another study conducted was in the United Kingdom Approximately 150 local residents were asked sample questions in a survey about people's attitudes towards mental illnesses The conclusion of this study showed that about 80 of the residents claimed that most people are embarrassed by mentally ill people Huxley 2009 A lot of this comes from the way the media portrays the mentally ill An analysis of primetime television shows that approximately one fifth of all prime time programs have a mental illness to either a main or secondary character In these programs the mentally ill were viewed as failures and were victimized more than the characters without mental illnesses Signorielli 2009 I asked a group of people in an online class about this issue and wasn't at all surprised by the answers I received When asked why they think there is a stigma against the mentally ill many said it had to do with that fact that no one really represents them and that they have no voice This makes it seem that the mentally ill are powerless If one took a look at the scapegoat theory this is perfectly explained 

According to the scapegoat theory people tend to discriminate against the ones who have little to no power either politically or socially This is especially true when the ones who have no power actually have no power over themselves for example the mentally ill Other responses I received had to do with the ignorance of society Almost everyone knows what the so called social norm is and how one should act or behave to fit in with society The mentally ill sometimes cannot fit into this construct of the social norm and this causes society to make assumptions of the mentally ill because they are unaware of why they act a certain way People have the fear of the unknown as well which adds on to their ignorance One response talked about how the media misinterprets the people with mental illnesses and their behavior Most media will usually show the most insane cases and use actors to portray people with mental illnesses when they have no understanding of that mental illness Another question that I asked was if the mentally ill were portrayed any differently would there still be a stigma surrounding them Some responses was exactly what I had expected They said that even if the portrayal of the mentally ill was changed it would not change the fact that some will still discriminate against the mentally ill This is due to the fact that people in society will still have opinions of other people no matter what People will still silently have their own beliefs and there really is no way to change that The other responses I received talked about a decreasing stigma If the portrayal of the mentally ill was different the stigma could still be there however we would have another view of the mentally ill if we understood them more The last question question I asked was if there was anything anyone could do to change the stigma against the mentally ill Most of the responses consisted of proper education By proper education many meant the schools should be teaching more psychology and raising awareness to the multiple mental illnesses that people could be diagnosed with

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