There’s no doubt that television shows, movies, music and more have an influence on societal views. For those who don’t know or aren’t aware of people around them who have mental illnesses, these media sources may seem like primary examples – providing them with direct information about a wide range of addictions, health conditions, and mental illnesses. While these media sources may seem reliable, the unfortunate reality is that they often aren’t; in fact, they often perpetuate negative stereotypes. Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a classic example of a disorder that gets distorted in movies; the following movies depict the disorder in the wrong way:
- Silver Linings Playbook – while the main character of the movie has BPD, the movie places an emphasis on his relationship with Jennifer Lawrence to help him work through the symptoms he is experiencing. Ultimately, this movie places an unrealistic expectation that mental illness should be treated through romantic relationships rather than through proper treatment.
- Law and Order SVU – In the 7th season, there’s an episode with Brittany Snow playing the character Jamie; she is accused of murder after she kills a person and is found to make a false rape allegation. In the episode, Jamie is represented as a person with bipolar disorder who seems to be unpredictable – she refuses to take her medication, which also places a negative stereotype on those with the disorder.
- Empire – in the show, Andre has been diagnosed with BPD and seems to represent a more normal storyline for those with the disorder; he does what he needs to do for work and goes to the doctor to adjust his medications on occasion. Lucious’s mother has also been diagnosed with BPD, however, and seems to display an exaggerated version in which she is quite violent – studies have shown that people with BPD are often not violent at all, which truly perpetuates this negative stereotype.
Part of overcoming stereotypes is educating the public on what mental illnesses are really like. While some movies and TV shows depict them in a realistic way, others miss the mark.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about programs that could assist you on your journey to recovery. It’s never too late to seek the help you need.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.