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Anxiety And The Media

By August 29, 2012Blog

According to The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2007, almost one in four Brits (23 per cent) had at least one psychiatric disorder.  That’s quite a staggering statistic.  Almost a quarter of our population!  We’re supposed to be one of the most fortunate, most affluent countries in the world.  We have an abundance of opportunities, food, water, choices.  How did we become so affected by mental illness?

Look at the NHS website, and it will tell you that our biological make-up, the environment in which we live, and our life experiences, are all contributory factors to anxiety.  I must say, I’m not surprised for a society so absorbed by the media’s broadcasts negatively bombarding us with “facts” and stories of murder, rape, shootings, floods, “terrorism”, the perfect body, child molestation, war, recession, unemployment, terrorism, war, terrorists, war, murder, recession, riots, war, recession…

That’s right; I did repeat the same old negative nonsense we are daily and repeatedly fed by the media.  If it’s not negative and doesn’t put us in a state of fear, anxiety or self-doubt, then it doesn’t seem worth reporting on.

Are you sick of hearing about the negatives?  Is the media getting you down?  Would you feel more positive if you tuned it out somewhat?

A couple of months ago a journalist tried to pitch me with the crux of an “inspirational” article about me and my story and my successes.  The story would have generated a healthy financial reward for me but there was no way I was going to let her publish that story.  It was a wonderfully positive story that she managed to find the negatives in, the type of story that would simply feed this monster – the media monster that wants us to sensationalise almost anything, the monster that likes to find the negative in something positive, the monster that likes to falsely paint Muslims as terrorists or weird, the Irish as travellers or thieves, and Jewish people as stingy or whatever other negative stereotype suits.

The time has come for us to take ourselves off cruise control and get back in charge.  We need to make very conscious decisions about what we watch, read and listen to from the media’s broadcasts and what we let the new generations watch, read and listen to.  If you don’t believe me, check out the research conducted by Lauren Glasser (2003).  In reference to the American media’s influence on mental health conditions, the researcher concludes, “Considering that the United States is the most media saturated society in the world, these negative, graphic media portrayals of life events have an unprecedented ability to affect individuals, and in some instances can induce real psychological disorders.”

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