Depression and the British media

The British media has acted really irresponsibly in their reporting of the French Alps plane crash. As more information has become available, the stigma surrounding mental health in particular depression has been fuelled. 

I feel that it is extremely unhelpful that the media think it is their role to apportion blame. It has made for uncomfortable reading. Maybe I shouldn’t have read the comments on news articles regarding this truly awful event over the past few days. 

As someone who has struggled to come to terms with depression, I am incredibly reluctant to talk about it with anyone who doesn’t currently know more than ever. I dread to think what others are going through who are currently not accessing any support through their local health services. It takes a huge amount of courage to make an appointment with your GP let alone talk to them about how you are struggling. To have the added worry that you might be perceived as a danger to others is wrong. Why would someone want to admit they may have depression if they are going to be stigmatized by those around them?

Please do not mistake this as me supporting the co pilot that decided to senselessly murder 149 people. I don’t. Not one bit. I was horrified when I found out that the crash was a deliberate act. Apparently there were screams from passengers when they realised what was about to happen. I can’t even begin to imagine how the families and friends of the victims are feeling. It’s an incomprehensible tragedy. 

Having depression does not make someone a thoughtless monster. I am married and I have been with my husband for nearly 10 years. I am extremely close to my family and friends. I am a personal assistant to a 12 year old boy who has autism and ADHD and have been for nearly four years. There are millions of people around the world living with depression who are from all walks of life and in a wide range of professions. Depression does not mean an intent to hurt others. If anything, I feel that those with depression are highly sensitive in regard to the people they care about. I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone including those who I no longer have in my life as a result of their horrible actions towards me. Its impact can be truly devastating and something only those who have experienced can ever fully understand. So why would I or anyone else with depression behave in a way that would knowingly cause harm to others?

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3 thoughts on “Depression and the British media

  1. Somehow a like for such a topic feels inappropriate, but I think you are definitely right about how the media does play a huge role in the stigmatisms surrounding mental illnesses, without ever realising how many individuals they affect with the way they report things

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was shocked and dismayed by the way some of the newspapers reported this news story. The Daily Mail were like ‘crazed pilot with depression murders 149 people’. But some outlets were a little more gentle about the topic although still obviously not removing the blame from the co-pilot. This quote from an article in the Guardian helped sum up what depression actually means:
    Depression is among the most common of mental illnesses, and is experienced by around 20% of adults. Characterised by feelings of guilt, hopelessness and reduced interest in pleasurable activities, it can affect anyone, from manual workers to heads of FTSE companies. Indeed, many successful people have experienced depression – among them Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and Henri Matisse – and there is virtually no evidence to suggest that the depressed pose a danger to others as a result of their illness. This is true of the full range of mental health problems: the scientific literature is clear that people with schizophrenia, long demonised and reviled by the press, are far more likely to be harmed by others or themselves than to enact violence.

    Liked by 1 person

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