This topic is certainly one that can be quite personal to some people, and is one which can be quite sensitive. However, that shouldn’t mean that it should be ignored. Everyone has been affected by mental health, whether they be a sufferer themselves, or know someone who suffers. But the mainstream media are letting us down, big time.
I write this article in response to the outpour of headlines, tweets and posts I have seen about the death of Mike Thalassitis. I opened Twitter on the day of his death, and the majority of tweets I saw by news outlet didn’t actually mention his name, but only that he’s a television personality with different phrases such as “Love Island Star” or “Hunk.” But at the end of the day, he is just a human like the rest of us. That’s the first thing which got me thinking, if they didn’t mention that he’s a celebrity then would people have opened the article or cared to read it? It’s almost like clickbait, the fact that instead of using his name, they had to specify that he’s a celebrity. Something similar happened when Mac Miller took his own life, a lot of media outlets didn’t refer to him by his actual name or even stage name, but regularly referred to him as “Ariana Grande’s Ex-Boyfriend.”
But the one thing that really gets to me is the fact that his death only made the news because he’s a celebrity. Yes, the media have the duty to report a high profile death, but the question has got to be asked… Why does it have to take a celebrity death for the media to speak about mental health? It is reported by Samaritans that there were almost 6000 registered suicides in the UK in 2017, so that stat in itself shows how much of an issue it is. I’m not saying that the media should write articles and headlines about every suicide, but I’m just questioning why nothing about mental health is ever mentioned when it’s not a celebrity.
Obviously, suicide and mental health issues can come across as a sensitive topic to some, but it should still be making the news more often. One way in which the mainstream media could improve is more advertisements. There needs to more awareness raised for mental health problems, and there are plenty of charities which media outlets could advertise. We see adverts for cars, foods, beauty products, betting etc all the time and these are something that not everyone wants, nor can afford. But as I mentioned before, mental health issues are something that affects everyone. With more awareness raised, it firstly shows that having mental health issues isn’t something to hide, and it can help save a life.
Below are a list of some charities which offer support for anyone who is struggling, or knows of someone who is.
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk
Samaritans Huddersfield – https://www.samaritans.org/branches/huddersfield/
SANE – http://www.sane.org.uk
Young Minds – https://youngminds.org.uk