This paper explores established research concerning the inﬂuence of media portrayals of mental illness and its treatment on stigma, helpseeking behavior, and viewer awareness from a social work perspective. The purpose of this paper is to examine the validity and generalizability of the existing literature regarding the effects of the presence of themes of mental illlness in television and movies. Concerning the social work profession, there is discussion regarding the role that media portrayals of mental illness can have on clients’ expectations for treatment and willingness to seek help. The referenced research examines the impact of depictions of mental illness in television shows speciﬁcally with criminal and medical themes. Focusing on authentic depictions of mental illness, research demonstrates that realistic, factually-based portrayals actively reduce stigma and associated stereotypes surrounding mental illness and its treatment. The identiﬁed limitations, lack of generalizability, and questionable validity with the existing research in this subject area demonstrate the need for more expansive, representative studies to be conducted.
"The Media’s Portrayal of Mental Illness and Its Treatment: An Analysis of the Existing Literature from a Social Work Perspective,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol2/iss1/2