Narrated truths: the image of psychiatry in the media

  • Thomas NesselerEmail author
Original Paper


In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in media attention on the subject of mental illness, which mass media frequently portray as a new phenomenon affecting large sections of the population. Reports about people suffering from mental disorders and on psychiatric or psychotherapeutic clinics, however, are often characterised by their emphasis on stereotypes and one-sided invariably negative attributes both in the choice of wording and the images used. This paper is an attempt to elucidate this apparent contradiction from both a narrative and a socio-historical perspective. In view of the development of modern moving image formats and storytelling techniques, it seeks to identify possible ways of harnessing the media to present a more considered and differentiated picture of psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses. Professionally moderated discussion forums based on social media techniques are to serve just as well as stories that take account of the narrative universals such as reward, success and human relations.


Psychiatry Media Discourse Stigma Narration Storytelling 


Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests. It was funded by the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Association of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyBerlinGermany

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