Mental health “issues” and what’s being done…is it enough? Is it even right?
One of my biggest bug bears (amongst poor grammar, cold feet, hanger, and people) is proportional representation of people in the media. Or rather the lack thereof. Now, I know I am about to come across as disablist (is that a word?), racist, ageist, peopleist (I know this isn’t but hey ho). But I aren’t…I really aren’t. And eventually I will get back to my opening question.
So proportional representation isn’t the technical term, and I’m sure there is one, but right now my brain is pretty fried (recovering from an acute attack) and it will suffice for what I’m trying to get across. So statistically speaking
- There are 9.4 million disabled people in England, accounting for 18 per cent of the population
So how come, if they only account for 18% of the population do they seem to account for 75% of news articles, opinion polls and generally everything. Every show has at least one disabled person in it, and thats only accounting for the physically disabled. I aren’t counting mentally “disabled” in that because that will be covered later. I have nothing against disabled people at all, couldn’t care less in fact, but I do hate the way the media seems to portray the amount of disabled people as equal to or more than the people that aren’t. All in the name of equality. THAT ISN’T EQUALITY. IT’S LYING.
See definition: Equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are treated fairly and equally and no less favourably, specific to their needs, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.
So why then, are the groups I mentioned above always treated with more…awareness? It seems that if you’re a one armed, black, muslim, gay woman you stand much higher chance of being listened to and having your views and opinions heard than a straight, white, athiest male.
Maybe I’m wrong, I quite frequently am. But I know for where I am in the UK, it’s definitely the case. Every time the local news comes on its about some poor down trodden put against person who the world hates. I just can’t help but feel that we reward those who can’t/won’t and ignore those that do and try.
So how does this tie in to my initial question? Well, why is it, only the …. in vogue…. mental health issues ever portrayed? And usually either in a really patronizing, all hold hands and sing kumbaya aren’t you wonderful and you fart fucks dripping in gold, or they’re lower than low. They’re never normal people, struggling but doing their best. They’re called invisible disabilities for a reason. Not every one who has a mental health disorder needs their hands holding, or the media to show us as literal crazies, or people that can’t cope, or people that have been amazing an over come diversity. Most of us, are just like John Smith who plods along in his normal life and keeps all the plates spinning.
I for one, don’t have an in vogue mental health issue, it’s relatively unheard of, the only time I’ve ever seen it in the media the character was portrayed as some kind of lunatic, bunny boiling, weak individual. And that is… damaging to all the good work that is being done by other outlets (human resources, people on the street, MIND, etc etc) because what people actually believe about mental health issues is what a]they’ve been taught (so typically most of it is wrong, hurtful, ill informed and dangerous) and what the media portrays (see above). I know many people like me, it’s hard not to with the amount of flaming classes I have to go to (sleep hygiene…what IS that?) , and they’re of much the same opinion as me, the media is damaging peoples beliefs. All these celebreties claiming to have this that or the other….and glamorising so suddenly it’s cool. And they’ve achieved LOADS…..news flash. It’s not and they haven’t. Sure they may have struggled (I know some days I struggle to not cry all day, eat too many carbs, and focus on what it would feel like to pluck all the hair from my body, strand by strand) but that doesn’t make my struggle any more…worthy than anyone elses.
So how does that tie in with my rant about proportional representation ofthe elderly/disabled/coloured? It’s all the same thing. The media need to stop trying to show people how accepting, and understanding and fucking wonderful we should be with these people and those like me. They should just deliver the facts, portray everyone in a statistically accurate way and let us get back to hating people because of bad highlights/shoes/weird teeth whatever we want to. And let us make our own minds up and behaviours accordingly with correct education in schools/factual programmes/books etc. Corrie and the likes need to take a long walk off a short pier in cement bricks with their malligned and flawed attempts at “normalising” everything I’ve talked about.
… Haha and I didn’t even mention my opinion on how they portray the gay.