Guest Blog - Romanticizing Mental Health

If you've seen '13 Reasons Why' on Netflix, you might have heard of some backlash.

Whilst I thought it was so good to see a realistic representation of mental health on a popular platform, and that there was so much discussion and recommendation to watch it. Some people did not feel the same way.

There was outrage for 13RW "romanticising" mental health and suicide. They were saying that it might influence those with mental health to kill themselves and leave tapes behind. 

I could argue that this is how parents thought that video games were corrupting their children. I think if you are having a hard time with your mental health then you'll either know not to watch a series about suicide, or it might help you not feel so alone and connect with others. There was so much positive discussion and I think that some people suffering in silence came forward to talk to someone, as the show would promote the services of the Samaritans.

It's been a few months since the release of 13RW, and Netflix have a film coming to it's platform about anorexia; 'To The Bone'. When I saw the trailer I was so happy to see that this is becoming a thing.

I'll give you a bit of back story about myself if you are unfamiliar with my blog. I've dealt with mental health issues since my early teens; depression, social anxiety, generalised anxiety and perhaps un-diagnosed anorexia or something similar. When I was at secondary school, I'd been bullied a lot and had issues at home. This in turn caused me to feel depressed, alone and isolated as I felt I couldn't talk about my feelings, that no one cared. I took all of these negative emotions out on myself, through punishment.

I wouldn't eat and would over exercise so that I'd feel weak. I didn't realise until a few years ago that this could have been some form of anorexia. I saw myself as fat even though everyone praised how slim and skinny I was, and I never believed them. However, I didn't cause this punishment because of how I looked, it was within myself. I hated who I was. I thought that I was a horrible person and didn't deserve to live, that everyone would be fine without me.

Luckily, I have overcome some of these thoughts and I'm still here today and I'm trying to make something of myself.

When I watched 13RW, it really hit home how I felt at school, with the bullying aspect and I could relate to the treatment of females from males. It made me really sad, but at the same time I didn't feel like the only person who'd been through something like that. I really hope that others out there like me, or who are still struggling can feel an ounce of hope that we aren't alone and there is help when you look for it.

I'm really excited to see Lily Collins' portrayal, as she herself has suffered with anorexia. I was disappointed to have seen negativity towards it already when no one has watched it yet. 

Personally, when watching 13RW and when To The Bone comes out I won't be sitting there "romanticising" cutting myself in the bath until I die, or starving myself to a dangerous weight. From 13RW you can imagine how painful it was, as the creators said they wanted to show a realistic portrayal, and I'm sure To The Bone won't let me down. They will show you how hard and life threatening anorexia is.

We can't battle mental health if we can't show or tell people what it's like, to put it into mainstream media, for all ages to start talking about it, and then to do something about it. It's not a pretty subject and you can't always walk around eggshells when something needs to be done.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and can choose not to watch series and films about mental health, but this isn't a new topic. Mental health features in so many films and TV series. I think the argument is about trigger warnings, but how effective are those? Those with MH issues can still carry on watching even if they 'shouldn't'. 

We can't keep putting mental health in the dark, it's affecting so many people and they all need whatever help they can get, even if that is watching something relatable on Netflix.

Read More of Saffron's Blog here

And follow her on twitter at @SaffronWatson_

Telephone : 07858139417 

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