Mental Health Disorders on Television

Representation Versus Reality


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About the Book

   In past decades portrayals of mental illness on television were limited to psychotic criminals or comical sidekicks. As public awareness of mental illness has increased so too have its depictions on the small screen. A gradual transition from stereotypes towards more nuanced representations has seen a wide range of lead characters with mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, autism spectrum disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, depression and PTSD. But what are these portrayals saying about mental health and how closely do they align with real-life experiences?

   Drawing on interviews with people living with mental illness, this book traces these shifts, placing on-screen depictions in context and demonstrating their real world impacts.

About the Author(s)

Kimberley McMahon-Coleman is an associate professor (academic development) at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Her research interests include the Gothic, Indigenous literature, popular culture, and academic language and learning.

Roslyn Weaver has a PhD in literature from the University of Wollongong and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical humanities at Western Sydney University. Her research interests include apocalypse, popular culture, children’s literature, and speculative fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Kimberley McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 183
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7215-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4020-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
One. “I don’t pick up on signs”: Autism Spectrum Disorder 17
Two. “It’s a gift and a curse”: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 43
Three. “Tell me who I am”: Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder 66
Four. “The inspirational, the enthusiastic, the unusual”: Bipolar Disorder 91
Five. “Maybe I don’t have the right genetic make up”: Depression, Anxiety and ­Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 116
Six. “The reality is much murkier”: Reality and Representation 137
Conclusion 158
References 161
Index 171

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Each chapter provides an extensive description of the television program and solid scholarly background/definition of the disorder under discussion….Both the bibliography and the detailed index enhance the utility of the volume….recommended”—Choice