2. What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s
thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily
3. Media Portrayal of Mental Illness
After a long period of time of stigmatizing mental illnesses, our society has begun to slowly open up the
discussion and admittance of such problems, coming as far as creating distinct professions to classify and
treat these illnesses. Even though society has begun talking about mental illnesses, people are still forced
to resort to obtaining information from other sources. Studies show that mass media is one of the public’s
primary sources of information (Fawcett, 2015). Unfortunately, those studies also suggest that most
media portrayals of mental disorders are stereotypical, negative, and just plain WRONG.
So how do you determine whether a portrayal is accurate or not?
4. Know the Stereotypes
People with mental illnesses are criminal or violent: Studies show that not only are
individuals with mental illness less likely to commit violent crimes, they’re actually more likely to
People with mental illnesses look different than others: Many people – who often lack
the resources or wherewithal to take care of their appearances – are mentally ill, but there are
also a huge number of people with mental illnesses who are getting up, showering every day,
going to work, etc.
People with mental illnesses are childish and silly: Many media characters are shown as
being quirky, silly, funny, and childlike, which just makes light of mental illness. These portrayals
don't convey the way most people with serious mental illnesses are in pain. In reality, these
people hurt and they struggle.
5. Know the Disorders
Use the DSM-V to understand mental disorders.
Find reputable sources and use them to learn about symptoms, etiology, etcetera.
Find case studies of real patients. Read them to understand how they were
diagnosed based on how the patients presented.
7. Module One Learning Activity:
For this assignment, you will review how a particular disorder is presented in the media.
To begin, you should look at the disorders we have covered and choose a topic area that
particularly interests you or that you want to learn a little more about. Once you have
chosen your disorder, follow the link
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_featuring_mental_disorders) to find a list of
movies that are related to your disorder. Once you have chosen a movie, you must get
approval from me for your chosen disorder and for the movie you would like to review. I
only require this to make sure that your selected movie will work well enough for your
disorder and for the review.
8. Module One Learning Activity:
List of Disorders
You can choose from the following categories of movies found through the link:
Amnesia (anterograde, retrograde, psychogenic, and Lacunar).
Anxiety Disorders (agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress
disorder, and social anxiety disorder).
Personality Disorders (anti-social personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder,
borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality
disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and
schizotypal personality disorder).
9. Module One Learning Activity:
After reviewing the movie, you will write a reflective paper that address the following:
A comprehensive description of psychopathology (symptoms) including a formal DSM-
V/ICD diagnosis of the protagonist or main character. This should include how the
person displays symptoms and meets the criteria for having your chosen diagnosis.
A reflection on the positive and negative messages that the film portrays regarding the
Discussion of how well or poorly the movie characterizes the disorder.
Identify a minimum of 4 SCENES in the film that best support the above points.
10. Additional Expectations
Your paper should be three-to five pages (not including title page and reference page),
and use proper APA formatting. This assignment is due by Monday at 11:59pm EST. This
assignment counts as 5% of your grade and will be scored using a rubric.