Mental health has a unique place in mass communication. We don’t talk about it a lot. Mental health (and illness) will get a spotlight in the news when there is a Mental Health Awareness holiday, week, month, etc. It also gets a spotlight in our news when there is violence (such as a shooting) or when victims of terror are interviewed. The rest of the year, it doesn’t feature much. Recently however, the story of NCAA basketball champ Kyle Guy has lit up across Twitter and other social media after he candidly discussed his battles with anxiety and depression. This week we look at the story of Kyle Guy, and of mental health and illness in our media.
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.
Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Kyle Guy and Mental Health Awareness in the Media
Having feelings isn’t a sign of weakness—they mean we’re human, says producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen. Even after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Webber Allen felt too ashamed to tell anybody, keeping her condition a secret until a family tragedy revealed how others close to her were also suffering. In this important talk about mental health, she speaks openly about her struggle — and why communities of color must undo the stigma that misreads depression as a weakness and keeps sufferers from getting help.
What does a real psychologist think of how mental illness is portrayed in movies? Dr. Ali Mattu, clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Medical Center, takes a look at how mental illness is depicted in pop culture and tells us how accurate they really are.
- Kyle Guy: Basketball star praised for candour on anxiety fight
- What Happens to the Mental Health of School-Shooting Survivors?
- Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers
- In Arizona, High-School Students Are Making Mental Health the Focus of Anti-Gun-Violence Legislation
Writing: An interview in The Cut article explored how media can be detrimental to survivors of violence by simplifying their issues and portraying them as strong. How might the media go about this differently?
Debate: Should it be the responsibility of the media to talk about mental health? Isn’t that the job of mental health professionals, experts, researchers, and parents in the home?
Poll: Should the media talk about the private lives of sports stars, celebrities, or teenagers where mental health is concerned?
Yes, No, Unsure
Short Answer: Do you feel your school does enough to support mental health?
Current Events Quiz
Kyle Guy has struggled with:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Anxiety and depression
- Survivor’s guilt
Guy stressed that people with mental health concerns need to be:
- In sports
- Elevated in the media
- Encouraged by coaches and friends
Survivors of school shootings struggle with a phenomenon called:
- Survivor’s guilt
- Bipolar disorder
The media can be a positive influence when it:
- Shows that the world knows who the victims are
- Reports important facts about perpetrators
- Makes victims seem strong
- Shows that the world cares
Students in Arizona are looking to create change via:
- Gun awareness
- Visiting sites of violence
- Getting more counselors to visit each school
Photo Credit: Ryanhuntmuzik via Wikimedia Commons