How The Media Changes People’s Attitudes Towards Mental Health

2260 words - 9 pages

The media, which consists of television, radio and the newspaper, is referred to as a form of communication. It is thought as the most powerful tool of communication due to the fact that it is able to present information at any time either promoting it in a positive or negative light. The media is also known for presenting fake news, however due to the fact that they are communicating to the masses the majority of news is believed if from a ‘reliable’ source. Newspaper companies such as ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Daily Mail’ pay extortionate prices in order to obtain front page stories from paparazzi so they can publish them in their papers resulting more profit for the companies as more individuals buy the papers. The media are able to shape the public’s opinions based on how they present their stories. An example of this would be the attack on the Twin Towers, 'following the 9/11 terrorism, media coverage followed accusations by government authorities that pointed toward al Qaeda as the group that carried out the attack on the United States and Osama bin Laden as leader of that group. Those news reports on the attack and the aftermath shaped public opinion to support the war on terrorism.' (1)
The 1941 Disney film Dumbo, which tells the story of a baby circus elephant who is mistreated due to his abnormally large ears, portrays individuals who are mentally ill in a negative light. The mother of the baby elephant try's to protect her child when he is being tormented and ridiculed about his ears, he is even given the nickname "Dumbo". Dumbo becomes the laughing stock of the circus, this becomes too much for his mother to bare and she flips out after the first born child is bullied about the size of his ears by the public. As a result of her child being tormented her personality changes and she bursts with anger causing a scene at the circus event. As this would be bad publicity for the ring master therefore, Mrs Jumbo is separated from rest of the circus acts, even her young defenceless son. The film shows Mrs Jumbo locked up in a wooden trailer that has metal bars so she would be unable to escape, surrounding the cage are several signs which read "danger" and "mad elephant" which instantly portrays this Mrs Jumbo in a negative light.
As a result of the target audience for the Disney film being children, their interpretation of individuals with mental illness are affected due to the scenes that involve our Mrs Jumbo being perceived as "mad". The scene shows Mrs Jumbo locked away in a trailer with bars, this could instantly make younger children believe that those who are mentally ill are dangerous much like criminals who are also locked away behind bars. This could make the children scared of individuals who have mental illnesses, potentially causing family issues to occur if one of the child relations were to be mentally ill. One sign which is shown outside of Mrs Jumbo's trailer reads "danger" this would instantly make younger viewers think that if...

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