Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness

Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness


By (author) Otto Wahl

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  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 222mm x 14mm | 91g
  • Publication date: 31 October 1997
  • Publication City/Country: New Brunswick, NJ
  • ISBN 10: 0813522137
  • ISBN 13: 9780813522135
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 712,664

Product description

Winner of the 1996 Gustavus Myers Award for an Outstanding Book on Human Rights in North America "Media Madness is a most timely, readable, and useful book, exposing, as it does, the myths about mental illness that most of us live by--myths that are as destructive as they are pervasive. Wahl is especially good at showing, in detail, the many ways in which false views of mental illness, purveyed in the media, shape the ways even the most enlightened of us view the world around us. A most thoughtful, stimulating book, from which I learned a great deal." --Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness, and Survival--A Memoir "An outstanding book ...well-researched is 'must reading.'" --Laurie Flynn, former executive director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill "The rampant inaccuracies about mental illnesses in newspapers, magazines, movies, and books make it clear that this is not merely stereotyping, but rather a pervasive ignorance. Dr. Wahl's book goes far to explain where the errors are and to educate and sensitize the reader to frequent inaccuracies. In addition, the book is very readable." --NAMI Advocate "What do the media have to do with one's perception of mental illness? Wahl takes an in-depth look a how unfavorable public images of mental illness are often inaccurate. Statistics show that one out of every five people in the U.S. will experience a psychiatric illness. With boldness and sensitivity, Wahl takes a powerful look at the inaccurate stereotypes created by the media." --Choice "Extremely well written ...This book is a valuable contribution to efforts to overcome the stigma of mental illness and 'media madness.'" --Paul J. Fink, M.D., mental health consultant Otto Wahl is a professor of psychology and director of the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology at the University of Hartford, Connecticut. He is on the advisory boards of the National Stigma Clearinghouse and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, as well as a consultant for the Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma Associated with Mental Illness (ADS Center). He is also the author of Telling Is Risky Business: Mental Health Consumers Confront Stigma (Rutgers University Press).

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Back cover copy

From Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Kojak, and Melrose Place, from books, music, cartoons, advertising, and newspapers, we all derive our images of mental illness. These omnipresent media portrayals are at the least insensitive, inaccurate, and unfavorable and at the worst stigmatizing and pernicious. In this important book, Dr. Otto Wahl examines the prevalence, nature, and impact of such depictions, using numerous examples from film, television, and print media. He documents the remarkable frequency of these images and demonstrates how the media has stereotyped the mentally ill through exaggeration, misunderstanding, ridicule, and disrespect. Media Madness also shows the damaging consequences of such stereotypes - stigma, rejection, loss of self-esteem, reluctance to seek, accept, or reveal psychiatric treatment, discrimination, and restriction of opportunity. The forces that shape current images of mental illness are clarified, as are the efforts of organizations and individuals to combat such exploitation.