Viewers With Mental Health Seek Help After Watching Mental Health On TV.

A quarter of TV viewers suffering from mental health problems have been prompted to seek help after following mental health storylines, according to a new poll by the mental health charity Mind.

The survey asked over 2,000 British adults how soap and drama storylines affected their attitudes to mental illness, with just over half of those surveyed saying that watching a plot involving a character with mental health problems had helped improve their understanding.

One in three men with personal experience of a mental health problem were more likely to be moved to find professional help and support after  watching a relatable character, compared to just 15 per cent of women.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “These statistics show just how powerful all forms of media can be in encouraging people to go and see their GP, call a helpline or just get in touch with a friend or family member with a mental health problem.

“Media portrayals and reporting, when done well, can be a lifeline. Drama storylines in particular can help people who might be struggling to feel less alone and they play a vital role in signposting to the help and support that is available.”

Farmer went on to praise media coverage that offers a “sensitive, compelling and realistic” representation of mental health, urging journalists and programme-makers to continue “showing people with mental health problems as a whole” and giving them a platform to share their experiences.

Words by Jess Denham

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