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 Claire Maarbes)

Time to Change is calling on the media to stop using stereotypical ‘headclutcher’ images to depict depression. (image courtesy of 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.

Will new Mental Health Discrimination law end the stigma of mental illness?

get well soon card

This is just one of the get-well-soon e-cards from Time to Change, aiming to challenge the mental illness stigma.

If you had a friend with a mental illness, would you send them a get-well card? If your answer’s ‘no’ or ‘not sure’, then you’re in the majority. Only one in four people experiencing a mental health issue has received a card from well-wishers, according to a study by Time to Change, an anti-stigma campaign run by mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

While 79% of people would consider sending a card to someone with a physical health problem, only 50% would do the same if it related to mental health. And a third (32%) wouldn’t know if it were appropriate. A range of get-well-soon e-cards is key to the campaign to get people talking about mental illness.

The efforts of campaigning groups have been rewarded by the UK government, which has made it illegal on the grounds of mental illness. The Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013, which became law on 28 February, means that people with mental illness will no longer be barred from sitting on a jury, holding a company directorship, or being an MP.

Campaigners believe this law will help to turn the tide on mental illness, encouraging more people (more…)