Mental illness and the media

We all watch television and see that humans in general are a pretty violent species. Not a day goes by without a report of violence. We are afraid of lions and tigers, but they only kill or maim when hungry. Not so our species. General studies show a rather faint correlation between violence and mental illness.

If a mentally ill person is taking meds and drugs, this can lead to violence. If the same person is not on medication and takes drugs, this too, can lead to violence. If a person taking medication due to a mental illness drinks alcohol, he can become violent, but if a ‘so-called healthy person’ drinks too much, he has been known to become violent and knock his wife and family around.

Actually, most people with mental illnesses are more likely to hurt themselves or become the victims of violence. They are more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the rest of us 

Movies and the media spread stories about crazed people. Remember the movie about Hannibal Lechter, the serial killer? Remember other movies that indicate that we should keep away from them all; that they are all dangerous, that they should all be locked up.


One thought on “Mental illness and the media

  1. Donna-1

    I have schizophrenia. I was first diagnosed and treated because a voice told me to kill my abusive husband, and I was quite ready to do so. I thought if I had a jury of all women, there would be a good chance of acquittal. But that last thought probably meant I was sane enough to be tried and given the death sentence for murder! So I got a divorce instead. I found a better solution, in other words.

    I don’t think that desiring to kill my abuser is abnormal or indicative of mental illness, necessarily. But if I had done so, schizophrenia would surely have been magnified by the media as the underlying problem, the cause, and the abuse would have received a back page mention, if at all. Now THAT is injustice!

    My mother thinks that anyone who commits suicide or murder is insane at the moment of action. I don’t think so. Either one can be well thought-out and executed (pardon the pun) by the most sane among us. All of us are capable of violence towards ourselves and others.


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