The Media’s Damaging Portrayal Of Mental Health

If you ever question whether our collective voices can make a difference in MH advocacy, consider this example to prove that they absolutely can…& that we should continue to raise our voices.

The magazine Vogue Portugal printed this controversial cover related to MH for their July/August issue. In fact, the original posting on Instagram, showing this cover, was posted just a few short days ago. They were extremely proud of it, hiring a Slovak model to pose in the tub.

People – like you started to share their distaste for the piece.  I’ll get into that in a second.  In fairness: Vogue Portugal said the image was intended to “start a discussion.” The topics covered in the written part of the article itself, were actually well-meaning: they featured interviews & contributions from psychiatrists, sociologists, psychologists & other experts – w first-hand story telling of MH challenges.

At first I wasn’t so so upset w the image. Having been in a psych ward myself, they can in fact be septic…cold…even “old school” in their treatment modalities. Maybe this piece was exposing something in a tongue & cheek way, that needed to be addressed.

But here’s the bigger issue w the cover – it shows the role of the PATIENT, as hopeless, helpless & incapable. According to a media expert interviewed about the cover: “This image reinforces the idea of a woman being vulnerable & helpless during a MH breakdown. It does not show us the effort those w MH put in to overcoming their struggles, their strengths & resistance to overcome adversity.”

I’ve shared posts abt “Physical Health” magazines & how they feature six pack abs & “better sex in only 10 days.” It’s time we push the media & magazines to show the POSITIVE stories of MH, instead of always showing victimhood. Score one for MH advocacy, as this cover was taken down/changed!

Upon removing it, Vogue Portugal released a statement: “The subject of mental health needs a more thoughtful approach.” Touché!

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