The recent Navy yard shooting, Newton, Auroroa , Columbine, Virginia Tech….
I cringe every time I hear that there has been a mass shooting. This is because I anticipate that it won’t take long before the media will find out that the person has a mental illness.
They could use the opportunity to educate the public about mental illnesses and letting people know that there is hope and recovery if you have a mental illness. They could also let people know of resources that are available if they suspect someone is struggling or they themselves are.
Stigma regarding mental illness is one of the main reasons people don’t get help. If people don’t get help it can literally result in lives being lost.
Another reason people don’t seek treatment is because they don’t know where to go. one of the obstacles people face are first responders not equipped to deal with those who have a mental illness. In addition, family members who are trying to get help for their loved ones have their hands tied or have to wait to get them help.
Why doesn’t the media take these opportunities to educate and help erase the stigma? I don’t have the answer. I do know, however, that they are adding to the stigma by not talking about it. They are letting the public think that people who have mental illnesses are all violent. They don’t talk about less than one percent of those with a mental illness are violent.
A lot needs to be changed in the mental health field. Less people need to fall through the cracks. Stigma needs to be erased so the mentally ill are not discriminated against. First responders need to be trained on how to deal with someone with a mental illness, and people need to know where the resources are.
However, another thing that needs to be changed is that the media needs to stop misleading people that those with mental illnesses are crazy and shoot people. They should talk about all the people who are battling a mental illness, have found help, are in recovery and are successful and accomplishing things regardless of their illness. They need to share that many famous people with mental illnesses are very bright and talented. There are several people throughout history who had a mental illness and were very successful.
The media is part of the problem. Why would someone go get help if they thought that by doing so they would be treated differently and people would come to the conclusion that they were going to go shoot people?
What is the media doing to encourage people to get help? As far as I am concerned they are scaring people away from getting help. By doing this, in my opinion, they are a huge part of the problem and can be somewhat be blamed for these shootings.