Mainstream Media and Mental Illness: A overview of Anxiety, Sociopathy and Depression - A discussion

Written By:  Adwin Lancer              05.13.19

Numerous mainstream outlets cover the topics of Mental Illness - Some do a great job, others fall short and may provide a dangerous overview of a very sensitive subject. An inside look of the demonization and scare tactics could help us uncover the truth behind mental illness.

How much of what we hear on mainstream media about mental illness is factual or how much is pointing us in a proper societal tone to discuss these very sensitive subjects. One thing is clear, awareness and discussion is immensely important - and to that, we must thank all the youtubers, celebrities and mainstream outlets participating in this conversation. We are not here to shame or punish anyone, my goal is to simply showcase how it’s being discussed and provide a non biased view on what could be improved.


Recently, one of the top YouTubers @ShaneDawson has covered a series on the Life of Jake Paul. While this series was really well done and an incredible showcase of the talent Shane Dawson has in handling drastic social situations - it also received notable backlash in the way the topic of Sociopathy and Psychopathy was covered. Shane even at one point had to apologize in a Snapchat story - Apologizing for the effects used and tonality that may have painted the mental illnesses as a scary or creepy disease. The therapist / psychologist mentioned even used the words "creepy, scary, weird and odd" to discuss these illnesses - which made a group of individuals skeptical of the professionalism presented in the documentary. Therapists should hold a non-biased and non judgmental opinion while approaching sensitive topics, what may be best suited for dinner table conversation may not be appropriate for a live professional discussion about mental illness. It’s important to note, that this issue was addressed and the rest of the series took note to approach these mental illnesses with care. It still brought light to how many mental illnesses are viewed on a mainstream level. A lot of times we automatically view mental illness with negative stigma attached - Ew, Gross, Scary or even life threatening. But this is rarely the case.


Anxiety and Depression have been on the front cover, or the poster child for Mental Illness.- some outlets describing them as a fad or hype around the sensationalized illnesses. This is another damaging stigma that could be potentially harmful to people suffering. We are thankful for the outlets that have brought real help to individuals that need professional assistance, therapy or remedies.


I’d like to pass the conversation on to you, How do we remove the stigma attached to mental illness? How do we create an environment willing to talk and discuss mental illness in a loving and accepting manner? Maybe conversations like this are a good way to start, maybe the conversation has already begun, maybe change is right around the corner.


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