It’s no secret that The Sun newspaper likes to provoke reader reactions by their use of brash and undeniably eye-catching headlines, but, they have managed to sink to an all time low.
The Sun’s headline, in blood red, reads: 1,200 killed by mental patients. In typical Sun fashion, they have managed to create a disgustingly discriminating headline, all the while covering it up with their ‘concern’ for the system. They go on to mention how their figures, and their investigation show that people suffering from mental health issues have been let down by the NHS. Personally, I believe that people today feel more let down by the ongoing stigmatisation from headlines such as this one.
It was only last week that supermarket chains Asda and Tesco displayed their prejudices against sufferers of mental health issues by stocking and selling halloween costumes. The costumes, entitled “the mental health patient” and “psycho ward”, both sparked a massive outcry in the media, and were ultimately withdrawn from their stores and online.
Meanwhile, The Mirror newspaper, today has provided a striking contrast in statistics on their website. They highlight that people suffering from mental health issues are, in fact, more likely to be a victim of crime. They go on to state that women who suffer from serious mental health issues are 10 times more likely to be at risk, while men are seven times more likely to suffer crime.
What The Sun fail to mention is how the numbers of murders each year committed by, so called “mental health” patients have decreased over the last decade, making their story irrelevant. They also fail to mention how 95% of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health issue. They might even like to mention that people with mental health problems, are in fact, more of a danger to themselves, with 90% of all suicides in the UK being by people who experienced mental distress.
All of these fact and figures and more, can be found on the Time to Change website. The charity, which have spent a number of years building up statistics from their carefully conducted studies, have an entire section dedicated to helping journalists understand and report mental health issues accurately and fairly. It is absolutely unforgivable that The Sun should not only manipulate statistics, from their own sources, but that they should fail to research correctly. With facts and statistics, such as those on the Time to Change website, it is inexcusable that journalists resort to such low and vile methods of reporting.
Even if, like myself, you are not a Sun reader, you will, no doubt, pass this headline on the streets today, or catch a glimpse of it on the news. I think this is what bothers me most about the headline, because even the people that have diverged away from the newspaper’s despicable sensationalist headlines and stories over the past few years, will still feel affected by its words. There is no escape from the media! So, for those that haven’t read past the headline, and haven’t opened up its pages, to know more, will be left with that haunting figure in their minds. We are left completely manipulated by a statistic that is both dishonest and misrepresented. What do you guys think? Have the Sun reached an all time low? How much more damage can be done to the stigma that is attached to mental health? Feel free to leave your comments below.