Portrayal of Mental Illness in Popular Films

By Yao Yao Zhou

The power of media has played an important role in enriching people’s knowledge and providing them with all kinds of information about many things. However, when it comes to mental illness, the media tends to twist reality. Studies indicate that mass media is one of the public’s primary information sources concerning psychological disorders. However, these resources wrongly portray mental illness as stereotypically negative. If the film industry is not improving the representation of mental illness, the publication of “Portrayal of Mental Illness in Popular Films” can at least let individuals be aware that their perceptions of people with mental illness is based on false information. That way, people can tell the difference between stereotype and reality. “Portrayal of Mental Illness in Popular Films” was created to hand out at the film festivals in order to educate people that the great majority of people with mental illness are not the violent, dangerous, and untreatable people they appear to be in films.

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