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Negative TV mental health portrayal 'as serious as racism'

Negative TV mental health portrayal 'as serious as racism'
26th November 2010

The portrayal of mental health issues on television has been sharply criticised for reinforcing negative stereotypes by the Centre for Mental Health.

Spokesperson for the centre, Andy Bell, believes that any kind of portrayal which is offensive to families or those in mental health care should be treated as seriously as racism.

He explained: "While there are excellent examples of TV dramas and other programmes taking a rounded view of mental health issues, too many fall back on inaccurate or stereotypical portrayals."

Mr Bell indicated that producers need to ensure access to support and advice is made available to those who want to go beyond stereotypes.

His comments follow the publication of research by Shift, which indicated that TV dramas still struggle to present an accurate picture of mental illness.

The survey noted that portrayals had improved, but found that 45 per cent of peak-time programmes with mental illness storylines portrayed those with mental health issues as posing a threat to others.

Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.