Poet pointed out how damaging bipolar disorder stock photos in the media can be, some so outrageous they are almost ridiculous.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Chrysanthemum Tran shared a series of images, pointing out that many of them are just “really dumb.”
Stock images are photos typically posed by models and are often used by newspapers and magazines alongside articles. Their use therefore shapes public awareness and opinion.
In response to the thread, a leading charity told HuffPost UK that such images can “fuel unnecessary misconceptions and stereotypes” around mental illness.
Chrysanthemum, from Rhode Island, USA, started the thread by sharing some absurd pictures.
After receiving thousands of retweets, the performer delved deeper into the archives to find some utterly bizarre images.
In a later postChrysanthemum called the photos “frustrating” and “inaccurate,” saying they do not reflect what it is like to live with the disease.
It didn’t take long for other people to comment on their frustrations with stock images depicting mental illness.
Some also thanked Chrysanthemum for approaching the subject with humor.
In response to the thread, Sue Baker, director of mental health charity Time to Change, told HuffPost UK: “We recognize that mental health can be a complex subject to illustrate, which is perhaps why we often see stereotypical images.
“However, our supporters tell us that the pictures that are often used to describe mental health do not describe what it is like to live with a mental health problem, and in some cases the pictures can fuel misconceptions and unnecessary stereotypes. “
She pointed out that for some time, activists have been highlighting the negative impact of the stigmatizing photo of the “head in hands” which “too often accompanies media reports on mental health”.
“Our research shows that more than half of people find this stigmatizing and it makes others think that people with mental health issues should look depressed all the time,” she said.
To combat the use of stereotypical images depicting mental health problems in the media, Time to Change has created an image bank with recommended photos for journalists.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Disturbs, open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- be connected is a free counseling service for people under 25. 0808 808 4994 or by e-mail: [email protected]
10 quotes that perfectly sum up the stigma surrounding mental illness