Madness and the Mad Mass Media

Most people who have been diagnosed mentally ill, the vast majority, don’t kill anybody. This is a fact that the news media just can’t seem to pick up on.

I scan a book review that purports to be about mental illness, and it’s about a prominent soap opera star who has a brother who is described as a paranoid schizophrenic who kills his mother. This isn’t typical.

The other week a story on the Mad Pride movement on ABC Primetime Outsiders news instead degenerates into a debate over psych drug use on account of the few incidents of violence that do occur.

What nobody pointed out here is that you’re dealing with 4 or 5 positive examples beside 1 incident of violence when in reality this violence is much much rarer than that. Then there is this bioethics professor who from his ivory tower would make those positive examples exceptions to some unwritten rule regarding the degenerative power of mental illness.

Regarding violence again, when a person becomes violent they are more likely to take this violence out on themselves. Suicide is much more common than murder.

Unsuccessful suicide can put a person on the psych ward. Does this mean that the person who contemplates and attempts suicide is crazy? No. He or she could have a rational argument for attempting it, and he or she could still have a future.

Why doesn’t the mass media pick up on this story? It’s happening here, there, and the other place.

The popular media hasn’t digested the fact that people can recover from serious mental illnesses either. It’s true, and it happens. Why not cover it?

To say “sensationalism sells” is not even a good excuse anymore. Should violence beget violence? Voila, more violence!

Tragedy isn’t everything. Tragedy that in these cases is serving as comedic entertainment for all the people who can say, “Whew, I’m glad I’m not them.”

There are other stories, and some of these stories are even good. You don’t need to dilute or corrupt them with counter examples. Why don’t you give us a few more of those positive stories?