Mental Health Illness In Media Coverage – The Wrong Question

The recent media coverage of the fate of the Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 has been argued to raise an issue with respect to the proprietary of the media coverage of mental health illnesses. Thus far the most promising theory seems to be that the co-pilot committed suicide by crashing the plane, and in the process killing all the passengers. In the immediate aftermath of the airing of this theory, outcry has focused on the treatment of depression in the media.

Whilst it is correct that determinations should not be made until a court of law has made a finding of fact, the reaction of Mind does not seem helpful in managing what is a taboo subject. It is refreshing that it accepts that there should be proper and open consideration of the role mental health in the event. However, certain articles have struck too far on the other side, and are shutting down the role that this incident might have in bringing a frank appraisal of support that those suffering from mental health illnesses.

Whilst this article makes the point that there are serious factual uncertainties, it shuts down debate by castigating those who do not suffer from mental health illnesses and who would like to weigh in on the discussion. This is unhelpful in the long run.


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