Raising Awareness to stop Stigma Against Mental Health Issues

by B.Matthews on May 14, 2017 - 1:21pm

Throughout the whole semester my focus of my work has been surrounding the different aspects of mental health. In order to find new and creative ways to show the truth of mental health issues, I have found 2 sources of current events that have occurred within the last month. In addition, I have decided to challenge myself in creating a blog that discusses the issue of mental illnesses, featured on the site are; TedTalks, places to visit within Canada for help, photography, and much more. I created this blog to illustrate the stigma against mental health problems. My task for this final post was to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke foundation in order to increase awareness towards physical and mental health. Unfortunately, the founders of the foundation were too occupied therefore; I was unsuccessful in obtaining an interview.

The first article that will be discussed will be surrounding the show “13 Reasons Why” and secondly, how society should change their representation of mental illnesses within photographs and mass media. Accordingly, the connection between the news articles and the volunteer work conducted was to raise responsiveness towards the serious mental health issues people can have. 

The article “Media’s choice of images to depict stories about mental health can be isolating” by Serina Sandhu discusses the issues reflecting the way mental health is displayed in mass media. As mental health issues do not only affect women, this articles respectfully discusses mental health problems surrounding the lives of men. According to Sandhu, an organization titled ‘The Calm Photography Movement’ will be having an exhibition to raise funds and awareness to prevent male suicide for the “Campaign against Living Miserably.” The author wanted to capture mental health through photographs that actually depict a person’s story rather than the typical commercial photographs made by companies. The Campaign against Living Miserably is hoping to finally put an end to stigma. The photographs shown in this exhibition, allows the viewers to question themselves which is what the purpose of some of the photographs are for.

Source 1: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/arts/medias-choice-images-depict-stories-mental-health-can-isolating/

The article “Paris Jackson warns 13 Reasons Why is 'extremely triggering' years after her own suicide bid - as mental health officials urge teens to AVOID the show,” Mia de Graaf discusses the issues of the new Netflix series labelled “13 Reasons Why” and it’s representation of depression towards the youth. De Graaf mentions the show as being harmful to the minds of youth who are experiencing a similar king of difficulty in their lives. The show has been categorized as not being watched due to the high impact of depression and suicide on children’s lifestyles. As this show is rated 17+ on Netflix, Paris Jackson states that children should not watch it without parental guidance or not at all. Censors of the show claim that depression and mental disorders are key points to understanding the meaning of suicide however, this is rarely mentioned throughout the first season on the show. Furthermore, the main character, Hannah, sends an underlying dangerous message towards the viewers of the show. Therefore, leaving schools at a loss, this show has caused great harm towards what school systems can carry out to potentially send out a better message to students.

Source 2: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4456556/Mental-health-officials-slam-13-Reasons-dangerous.html

Multimedia blog: http://ourmental-health.blogspot.ca/


I think you did an amazing job at making a connection between current events and the issue of mental health stigma! The show "13 Reasons Why" became very popular as soon as it came out and despite its numerous controversies it has brought to the public's attention the issue of mental health. If you are interested in ways to help raise awareness about mental health, I recommend you take a look at Montreal Walks for Mental Health foundation. It is a foundation whose mission is to “increase public awareness about mental health and eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people living with mental illness and those who support them”. Every year they organize a walk in the streets of Montreal, where everyone walks with same goal, that is to end mental health stigma. I have volunteered with this organization and I can confirm to you that the work they are doing is really good. If you are interested in helping this event take place and learn more about this organization you can send an email to walk4mh@mtlmarche.com or call at 514-935-5770. Here is their website in case you want more information http://mtlwalks.com/.

About the author

I'm Brianne, this is my final semester at Champlain College and I am currently studying social science: education option. On my past time, I enjoy learning musical instruments, and practicing the ones that I currently study.