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Clínica y Salud

On-line version ISSN 2174-0550Print version ISSN 1130-5274


MUNOZ, Manuel et al. Mental Illness in the Media: An Empirical Study in Press, Radio and Television. Clínica y Salud [online]. 2011, vol.22, n.2, pp.157-173. ISSN 2174-0550.

The social perception of mental illness is characterised by a wide range of negative stereotypes and prejudices which lead to discrimination and increase the suffering of people with a mental disorder. The media have been repeatedly described as important stigmatizing agents with enormous social influence and repercussion. This study intends to compensate for the lack of investigations about possible stigmatizing trends in the main Spanish media. The results have shown an abusive and improper use of terminology related to mental disorders in the radio, television and press news reports, which contrasts with a lack of news stories which really dealt with the subject and offered high quality information. In fact, a quarter of the analyzed news stories included stigmatizing contents, and a significant presence of stereotypes concerning danger and unpredictability. This reality requires the setting up of social sensitization and stigma eradication campaigns, aimed at promoting the integration and well-being of those people suffering from a mental disorder.

Keywords : stigma; mental disorder; stereotype; discrimination; media.

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