STIGMA, ADAPTATION, AND RECOVERY Stigma, Adaptation, and Recovery: A Textual Representation of Mental Illness In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and the Movie A Beautiful Mind Word Count: 2750 (11 pages) I. Introduction One text and one movie were chosen in order to help discuss whether representations of mental illness in the media reflect public opinion or shape attitudes and responses…
Of course, with the advent of this writing, judgments have been made with regard to the way audiences and/or readers might respond to such differing representations. This report reflects common attitudes reflected in the literature and media which are going to be discussed. With regard to stigma, an extensive, intensive look will be taken at the issues in discrimination that the mentally ill population faces. Not only that, but we will also examine how important it is for the mentally ill to adapt to their challenges as seen in some ways represented in media. Finally, recovery will be considered as an important element which is represented in the media as an ongoing process, recovery which happens for one character but then not for the other. Ultimately, how the mentally ill are represented in the media is not always correct but can serve up educational moments. II. Stigma Stigma with mental illness has tended not to go away. “There has been a substantial increase in research on the stigma related to mental illness over the past 10 years…” (Thornicroft, 2010, pp. 204). ...
236). Media can have a great effect on the stigma of mental illness. “Thus part of the answer to the ‘so what’ question is that media images contribute to mental illness stigma — that is, to unfavorable ideas and attitudes toward those with mental illnesses” (Wahl, 1997, pp. 99). There are several female American celebrities who recently admitted to having to get treatment for bipolar disorder, for example—such as Demi Lovato, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Carrie Fisher, among others. One of the biggest obstacle for people like John Nash is stigma, because it isolates the individual to struggle with his or her illness by oneself. Stigma severely limits the ability for patients to recover because people have preconceived notions about the mentally ill which precludes recovery. Stigma is the “most formidable obstacle to future progress in the arena of mental illness and mental health” (Hinshaw, 2007, pp. x). Stigmas are not only bad in the media because they popularise uncouth attitudes towards the mentally ill. “Stigma…leads to discrimination against the stigmatised person” (Arboleda-Florez and Sartorius, 2008, pp. 69). Not only did Sylvia Plath’s main character Esther have to deal with her descent into mania, but she also had to maintain a ‘world of pretend’ that everything was fine when her world, in reality, was crumbling into pieces. “It is bad enough to have a serious chronic illness…but that is made even worse by stigma” (Ross, 2008, pp. 137). Of course, the mental health community must aid people like Esther and John who encounter mental health issues. “Social workers must know, first, the different ways the stigma of mental illness can manifest itself…” (Heller and Gitterman, 2011, pp. 21). Social workers are probably ...
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