Media Distortion Re: Mental Illness

letter to editor

This is a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was published in the Winston Salem Journal.  (Link below)

Media distortion

I cringe every time I hear that there has been a mass shooting because I anticipate the media coming to the conclusion that it’s because the person had a mental illness that they committed the crime.

Instead of using these tragedies to educate people about mental illnesses, the media adds to the stigma. Most people with a mental illness are not violent. In fact, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of crimes.

The media needs to stop misleading the public! They need to let people know where the resources are if they need help, that there is hope and they can recover. Several successful people throughout history have had a mental illness. Not everyone who suffers from a mental illness shoots people.

Many things regarding mental health need to change, including how they handle these stories. They are scaring people away from getting help. By doing this they are part of the problem.

Will someone get help if they fear that others will think they are going to shoot people?

The media should cover stories about people with mental illnesses who fight the battle every day and are winning. People with mental illnesses have feelings, goals, dreams, families, friends, co-workers, ambition and talents. They just have a chemical imbalance in their brain. The great majority of them are not violent.

MICHELLE HUGHES

WINSTON-SALEM

http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/article_7462a34c-253e-11e3-a3bf-0019bb30f31a.html

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About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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3 Responses to Media Distortion Re: Mental Illness

  1. bpnana says:

    Thank you, BB, for working hard and speaking for those who don’t have a voice. Battle lines being drawn. This has got to stop. It’s horrible.. For every story that puts the spotlight on a person who commits a horrible crime and has, or may have a mental illness, there should be a positive example, as well. If anyone has any idea of how to get the media interested in doing it, maybe it would help. This is America. Isn’t it? Maybe MPR radio would help out. Or Democracy Now!

  2. Pingback: Tom Sullivan: Does Fox News discriminate against those with mental illnesses? | Bipolar Bandit

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