Mental illness has always been a real thing. Even, if people don’t want to believe it, it does exist. People deal with an array of conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and eating disorders, all of which can lead to dangerous outcomes, such as suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. So yes, mental illness is a real thing.
On the Mayo Clinic website, it states: ‘mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior.’
So it’s no wonder why it is hard to illustrate mental illness in the media correctly. However, recently I have seen the acceptance and display of mental illness in pop culture.
In the Showtime show, Shameless, the character, Ian Gallagher is bipolar. Instead of locking him away, or showing him as “crazy.” His character became an EMT and helped people. He has the support of his family. Furthermore, it shows that people from tough neighborhoods can have mental illness too, that it’s not just a “made up thing” for rich people.
In the CW show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the main character, Rebecca Bunch is a woman who has been misdiagnosed for 30 years. She found solace in her academic achievements and became an ivy league graduate and a lawyer. However, she kept self-medicating herself by running after men that didn’t love her back. She was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Popstar, Demi Lovato came out a few years ago about her Bipolar Disorder. In her recent documentary, she discussed how she self-medicated with cocaine, Adderall, and alcohol. Young fans can see that even if you have a mental illness, you can still have a successful and thriving career.
All these examples, illustrate how mental illness can be dangerous if not diagnose. However, it also shows that it is not a death sentence. You can still achieve great things, and most importantly the person affiliated with the illness is not “weird” or “weak.”
These examples hopefully will lead to more examples in pop culture. Which I believe will help take away the stigma of mental illness. Which I hope will encourage people to seek the help they need.
This holiday season is the time to give. Here at Epifania Magazine, we take mental illness very seriously as we all have experienced it one way or another. Please take time, to look at the following list of places to donate to this holiday season.
List of organizations: