9 thoughts on “Uninformed Media Keeps Depression Stigma Alive

    • August 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm

      Oh, I know. Her responses there expose her true opinion all too openly. She really doesn’t “get” mental illness and it shows.

  • August 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you Erika for your article and the insightful message about AOL news. Unfortunately AOL news tends to produce articles of a similar nature for their viewers to see. A story published 2 years ago reflected incorrect and “biased” information about children with autism and included insensitive remarks from an uninformed radio talk show host (see article: http://entertainment.aol.ca/article/Radio-Host-Angers-Parents-of-Autistic-Children/288298/).

    Sadly, AOL rarely informs or educates their audience to the truth of mental illness and what symptoms entail. They report the news and that’s that. Perhaps they should re-think how they report their news. The media/news reports are often looked up to as a pool of legitimate, correct, and ethical information, which can greatly influence society’s thinking on various matters.

    Although I am an active member of the mental health field, I find that I am often disappointed by the fields lack of progression in areas related to society at large. We have not done our job as mental health clinicians to inform the wider society, we allow them to continue to stigmatize because we don’t change the skewed perspective they often hold about mental illness. We have members of society constructing their own way of thinking about mental health and therefore we do our clients, our families, our friends, etc. no justice at all.

    In addition to the above, we have other fields that go contrary to how the mental health field defines mental illness. Take, for example, the field of law. Everything relating to a crime or an individual who deviates from the norm is viewed in black and white terms (that is, either you are a criminal or not, innocent or guilty). They rarely look at the gray area. This perspective is largely responsible for how society perceives mental health. Thank God for forensic psychologists who can help detract from this narrowed perspective, but I think we’re going to need more than a forensic psychologist to help change the black and white perspective of society.

    Essentially, I think AOL news reporters are just representative of the majority view of mental health. This is definitely proof that we need to get busier in our quest to decrease uninformed thinking about mental health.

    I hope we can do better.

    • August 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for replying, TH. I agree that we must never slack off on public education about mental illness. It has to be continuous to be effective. It’s so frustrating how just a few highly-public careless comments can have such an impact. That can be so dangerous and with so little effort.

      Thanks again for your insightful comments.

  • August 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Another report on MSN stated that she lived with her mother who constantly berated her for being a useless mother – in a nut shell. And apparently she also has a 5 year old daughter. We can not judge the life of this woman who took the life of her children. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Not that I am condoning this horrific act – I couldn’t imagine how anyone could take the life of their child – but there again – we will never understand. We can’t make sense of sensless acts – it’s too much to bear thinking about those poor little boys.

  • August 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Depression is an important subject we all need to openly discuss. Educating the public about what depression is and how to identify its symptoms is a good first step.

    It’s comforting to know that Pacific Clinical Research Medical Group has clinical studies for treatment of depression that I found here: http://www.1888study411.com/study_depression.htm

    Thank you Erika for the post and bring attention to postpartum depression

    • August 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm


      Thank YOU for the resource! I took a quick look at it and found a symptoms quiz right on the front page. Excellent!

  • August 19, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I really think the stigma around mental illness has more to do with the media always assuming a woman who kills her children must be depressed. If a man kills his children the media doesn’t immediately assume it’s mental illness. Most women with depression do not kill children, but that’s not a news story.

    • August 20, 2010 at 9:49 am


      So true. Sensationalism sells and the typical depressed mom with internal struggle and difficulty coping is too “boring”. Really, really too bad for those who do go to the extremes and for those who never go that far. The media often misfires on both accounts. Thanks for your comments.


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