The New Statesman has an interesting article by a press officer from one of the UK’s biggest mental health charities describing how press stories are put together and why it’s almost impossible to get any media interest without a ‘mentally ill celebrity’.
But there‚Äôs the rub. Shouldn‚Äôt we want to hear about these issues anyway? Do we really need to look to the stars? I started ‚Äúselling‚Äù this campaign to journalists armed with a raft of compelling stories of real-life discrimination ‚Äì the experienced business analyst who, after six months off with depression, made 150 job applications before an employer would give him a chance; the singer barred from joining a choir because she had had schizophrenia; the Cambridge graduate refused a chance to train as a teacher because of a history of mental health problems.
They‚Äôre interesting stories, emblematic of a stigma that still surrounds mental illness, and they matter to a great many people: one in four of us will have a mental health problem at some stage. And journalists know it. ‚ÄúWow, yes, that is very interesting,‚Äù they say. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs dreadful, isn‚Äôt it? I know someone that happened to, actually, but . . . I was wondering if you could get me Mel C, y‚Äôknow, Sporty Spice? Or Ruby Wax? Or, even better, do you have any new celebs who‚Äôve had problems in the past?‚Äù
Link to New Statesman piece ‘Get me Sporty Spice’.