After reading a Time to Change article on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, I became inspired to write this post about the Sherlock Gnomes movie and their negative portrayal of mental illness and depression. This is because of a line in the script which reads ‘What are you going to do, depress me to death?’
Why am I telling you this?
I feel that I should use my blog to inspire other people to act on stigma which they come across. I was in two minds about posting this, as I am aware that a lot of people will disagree with what I am about to say. However, I believe that sufferers of this predominant mental health condition should not be used as a punchline or in an attempt to humour others. There is a quote which reads “speak your mind even if your voice trembles”, which I am keeping in mind as I write this post.
As a sufferer of depression and a passionate advocate for mental health, I am extremely disappointed by the ignorant use of depression to make audiences laugh. 1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness every year and 35 in 100 people have self-harmed, experienced suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide in their lifetime. The topic of mental illness has been talked about more frequently in society, but there is still an extremely long way to go until the stigma is removed. There was a lack of sensitivity for depression sufferers in this movie. Depression poisons the minds of people and living can become so incredibly painful that they don’t want to be alive to see another day or week or month. That should not be a laughing matter. It is insensitive and highly triggering for those with depression.
The young children which this movie is targeted towards will remember the negative stereotype associated with mental health and the stigma will not change. Consequently, new generations will contribute to the stigma and lack of understanding that depression is a serious illness, not a joke. Sufferers are very, very strong people. They fight exhausting daily battles and should be applauded for tiny victories: like getting out of bed in the morning or taking their medication. They should be helped with recovering, not mocked and criticised by others. Depression is extremely serious. It kills so many people and it should be treated in the same way that physical illnesses are. If you personally find depression and death humorous then you need to ask yourself why; challenging yourself and your pattern of thinking.
I have contacted the creators of Sherlock Gnomes, explaining my concerns and I am awaiting their response. The article (linked above) states that stigma is reduced by sharing examples of discrimination, and making companies aware that it is not acceptable. Therefore I would appreciate it if you share your experiences along with this post; so a change can take place. Individuals deserve to live in a world that doesn’t make them feel that their life is unworthy. They deserve to recover from mental illness.
Love Casey x
Below are links to websites that can support you if you are suffering from mental illness.