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The news media are one of the most influential sources of information regarding mental illness. Media coverage on schizophrenia, one of the most stigmatized mental illnesses, tends to be negative, focusing on high risks of violence, failure, and unpredictability. Such perceptions may cause a detrimental impact on the mentally ill and cause them to internalize a stigmatizing stereotype and hinder the public’s understanding of mental illness. I studied how media portrayal in newspaper coverage of schizophrenics has evolved to discover how nonfiction media representation has affected people’s perceptions and attitudes towards schizophrenics and to propose an implementable solution to reduce stigma by utilizing the media. I explored scholarly sources that analyzed the changes in reporting of schizophrenia in high-circulation newspapers in different countries and how renaming schizophrenia in Japan reduced the associated stigma. I also investigated successful solutions that have been implemented in other countries that have helped decease the stigma associated with schizophrenia. Currently in other countries, destigmatization efforts are mostly directed at providing more accurate information. An appeal for the government to provide opportunities to discuss and reflect on media contents may also be successful in decreasing the association between mental illness and violent crime. It is imperative that the US creates and implement solutions that may decrease mental health stigma and also discover other possible solutions. This will not only help the predicaments of those suffering from mental illness, but may also educate the public on such mental health problems as to prevent further misinformation.
Cultural Anthropology, Social Psychology
Schizophrenia, Newspaper Portrayal, Stigma
Mental Disorders | Social and Cultural Anthropology
Current Academic Year
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