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The Mind in the Media

Author and psychiatric nurse Nathan Filer tells the story of how stories of mental health are told. News reports and drama tell it very differently to real life.

If you ask the author, Nathan Filer, when he first came into contact with mental illness, he'll tell you it was in 1999 when he first became a psychiatric nurse. But, like many of us, he'd actually met it much earlier : through film, drama and the news. Like many of us, his understanding had been shaped by how the media chose to portray it. But he quickly realised how very different real life was to fiction and the reports.

Now he asks what does that difference do to us - both as a society and to us as individuals, when many of us have experienced mental health disorders in our every day lives, either personally or to close family and friends. How does story-telling in the 21st century influence public understanding and our sympathy or condemnation for those experiencing mental health disorders?

Times are changing. As Alastair Campbell says, in the 80s, if you'd suggested to the newsroom a piece on depression, it just wasn't on the agenda. But although mental health is becoming more common as a storyline or story, many myths still prevail about violence, treatment, diagnosis, recovery.

Looking back through archive, Nathan Filer tells the story of the way we've framed mental health and illness across all media over the last few decades, and he talks to those with knowledge to explore its effect. Featuring Alastair Campbell; Professor Graham Thornicroft of Kings College London; Jenni Regan, senior editorial advisor at Mind; Dr Sarah Carr; Erica Crompton; and author Ramsey Campbell, among others.

The producer is Polly Weston.

For information and support on the subjects discussed in this programme visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health.

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58 minutes

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