The Media and Mental Health

I read an article on a news website which generally speaking doesn’t make me want to vomit, however on this occasion it turned my tummy. My subsequent Facebook status read:

Dear Guardian, Fuck Off. Kind regards, Helene xxx

My mum text me saying I had been too harsh. I didn’t respond, instead I thought long and hard about the impact of an article that would be read by thousands. An article that boldly accused a prime time TV programme of insulting 16 (plus) million people.

In a nutshell, someone sang a song entitled “Crazy” and dressed their dancers in straight jackets. Much like Asda’s apparent faux pas before it this incident raised the issue of mental health stigma in the most inappropriate of ways.

Please answer this, having watched a dance routine with prancers in straight jackets do you now consider me dangerous?

Case closed.

(Although on the dancefloor….)

If the media is so desperate to finger point allow me to hold up a mirror.

Stigma is there. We can’t erase a zillion movies, images and symbolism. Can we?

Let’s move forward, not backwards, sideways or go around in circles. If an estimated 16 million people in the UK alone suffer from mental health problems I think the message is loud and clear. We sit next to you at work, in front of you on the bus, behind you at the checkout, and we are the person that you love.

Finger pointing serves no purpose. Many of the 16 million of us have felt like we belong in straight jackets at times, some of us may even wear one at Halloween. Get over it.

Shame on you Guardian for wasting words when there are so many more stories in the world today which deserve a voice.

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