Proposal: Portrayal of Mental Health Solutions in Media

I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Every so often my blood pressure shoots to 200/180, I hyperventilate, pass out, and wake up in the hospital. I have no control over it. My family, many of whom do not understand the disorders, often tell me I need to learn to grow up. If I had a nickel for every time I was told to “just let it go” or that I was “going through a phase,” I wouldn’t be worrying about my student loans. There are some fairly general, and incorrect, assumptions about people with varying mental disorders. Got depression? Oh you just need to get outside more. Are you stressed? Why? You don’t have three jobs, children, or a mortgage–you don’t know what it is to be stressed.

The media doesn’t help much either. In any given portrayal of someone in a mental ward there is at least one person who is screaming, running around, jumping on people or things, assaulting doctors or other patients , or laughing hysterically and anyone who doesn’t do these things obviously does not belong there because they are normal. According to movies and TV shows there are only the extremes and the wrongly accused.

Media also perpetuates that medication is the only option for all mental health issues. How many times have you seen commercials for anti depressants? Specifically, how many times have you seen the ABILIFY cartoon which likens depression to a dark ballroom, ball and chain, and a whole in the ground?

In my mashup, I want to explore the portrayal of mental health as well as the passive ignorance that many people have toward it. I plan to use clips from documentaries, 1940s musicals, and movies from the last 15 years which touched on the subject of mental health.

I am hoping to raise awareness on a few topics within the realm of mental health starting with the fact that the medications which are so often prescribed only mask the symptoms of the disorders and do not cure them. I would also like to address that the periods in which people with anxiety disorders reach their lows are moments in which they need support and not to be criticized or written off.

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About Jessica M Tuckerman, MA

I prefer to write for the YA and middle grade audiences. When I'm not writing I'm curled up with a good book and two good dogs. BA in Writing Arts: Creative Writing, New Media Writing and Publication; New Media Production MA in Writing

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