Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mental Illness: The Media's Deadly Selective Silence

On Sunday, one of the YouTubers that I subscribe to posted his weekly video, but it wasn't his regular super cheery video.  Calum McSwiggan (Cal) decided it was time to be serious and let us all in on a big secret: He had attempted suicide a few months back.  He expressed that when he was going through the thought process of making the video, he wondered if it wasn't showing weakness by telling the world (or at least his followers on YouTube) that he had tried to kill himself.  To me, Cal showed immense bravery.

As I wrote a couple of months back, I am bi-polar and have been for most of my almost 45 years.  So I understand Cal's daily struggle with suicidal thoughts and send him the biggest mental hug I can.  But his video got me thinking: Why is the media so selectively silent regarding mental illness?  Think about it.  When is the only time the media is even one bit concerned about those who have a mental illness?  That's right.  The only time they show any interest or concern is after a mass shooting, as if only the mentally ill can mow down scores of people with firearms.

This selective silence is deadly because we all know that the media shapes major issues and discussions regarding national policy.  Do you think that if the media weren't so silent, that it presented mental illness in a way that isn't connected to firearm violence that our nation's leaders would be able to continue to give a flying fuck about our nation's horrid track record regarding taking care of those with mental illnesses?  Of course not.

It is time for us to wake up the media and get them talking about mental illnesses without the cover story of firearm violence.  Its the only way to end this deadly selective silence.

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