New campaign challenges ‘headclutcher’ images of depression

Time to Change is calling on the media to stop using stereotypical 'headclutcher' images to depict depression. (image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Jeanne Claire Maarbes)

Time to Change is calling on the media to stop using stereotypical ‘headclutcher’ images to depict depression. (image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Jeanne Claire Maarbes)

What does a depressed person look like? Permanently sad, often clutching their heads, much like this person in this picture to the left? It’s the stereotypical image that’s likely to spring to mind when thinking of someone with depression. But a new campaign from Time to Change, called Get the Picture, wants the media to think differently about how they depict depression.

Its poll of 2000 people revealed that:

  • 80% of people don’t believe that ‘headclutching’ photos tell the truth about what it feels to have a mental health problem.
  • Images showing suicide may trigger suicidal feelings (among a third of people who responded to the poll).
  • Most importantly, people with mental health problems don’t look depressed all the time.

I agree with Time to Change that to continue to show depression in this cliched way merely exacerbates the stigma around mental illness. Members of the public are invited to take part in the campaign by taking a fun ‘headclutcher’ selfie and tweet it with the hashtage #GoodbyeHeadclutcher.

I will do my bit by being more creative when researching images to illustrate this blog.

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