The Media and the public

Lack of knowledge is a direct cause of prejudice and the media has an important role in changing people’s perceptions about mental illnesses. Sensationalist and inaccurate media reports can have a negative effect on the society’s attitudes towards people with mental illnesses and contribute to maintain a stigmatizing portrayal.

Lack of knowledge is a direct cause of prejudice and the media has an important role in changing people’s perceptions about mental illnesses. Sensationalist and inaccurate media reports can have a negative effect on the society’s attitudes towards people with mental illnesses and contribute to maintain a stigmatizing portrayal.

An increasing number of people today fail to thrive mentally and have mental health problems. More and more find that they are stigmatised because of widespread misconceptions and prejudices about what it means to have a mental illness.

Despite the way mental illnesses is portrayed and reported in the media, frequently in association with violence, only very few people with a mental illness are dangerous for their surroundings. When this is the case, it is often due to a combination with drug abuse.

Silence and doubt

Prejudice does not simply take shape in unbending attitudes and derogative references, but also in silence and doubt. No matter the case, it affects people who have mental illness and their relatives. It means that many choose to hide their problems and might wait a long time before seeking help because of feelings of shame and insecurity about the reaction of their surroundings. Many fear, for instance, that family, friends and colleagues will turn their back or that it will have negative consequences for their job situation.

Treatment and support for individuals with mental health problems have changed a lot throughout the years. The last decade has seen an emphasis on greater availability and less intrusive forms of treatment. The goal is to maintain the hope of recovery and a meaningful life even when a person has experienced very severe symptoms.

International research on how the press covers mental illnesses shows a biased emphasis on violence and crime and this is not different in Denmark. The media reproduces a stigmatising portray of people with mental illness, showing them as dangerous.

Thus, there is huge need to convey more knowledge about mental illnesses, the challenges involved in mental health problems and, in particular, the possibility of recovery. In many cases, a full recovery that can lead to a normal life.

The ONE OF US logo expresses in a few words the change that the national campaign wants to bring about: that everyone feels as a part of the community.

Activities

The national campaign ONE OF US faces head-on the prejudice and the stigma that is conveyed and reproduced through the media and that influences people’s attitudes towards mental illness.

Inspired by other national programs, ONE OF US employs campaign elements focussing on the media, such as courses and information material for journalists, systematic monitoring of the media (“stigma watch”) and guidelines for a balanced and ethical coverage of mental health problems.

The video below is one example of our work in this area.

About Men and Depression

Aimed at the general male population, this film suggests that listening and talking to a male friend with depression may be the best way to help him out of this mental illness. 
Duration: 1:46 min
Language: English