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Can We Ever Forget Hannibal?

Despite the success of Russell Crow’s portrayal of John Nash, in “A Beautiful Mind” critics contend the media sensationalizes and overstates the association between mental illnesses and serious crime. This portrayal is producing a very damaging misunderstanding not only of psychotic conditions but is also damaging the portrayal of the more common neurotic illnesses, according to Leicester’s Department of Media and Communication graduate, Katy-Louise Morgan.

Miss Morgan commented: “Despite an era of political correctness, the mentally ill are among the few remaining groups being continually subjected to stigmatization. This victimization is contributing towards prejudice amongst the public.”

Morgan charges the print media with egregious conduct. Psychotic illness is most commonly reported in connection with violent crimes such as murder, causing newspaper readers to make unrealistic links between mental illness and violent crimes.

Miss Morgan added, “The misconception is two-fold. Firstly, schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses are actually among the least common of all mental illnesses. Secondly, not all schizophrenics are murderers nor conversely are all murderers schizophrenic.” Indeed, most schizophrenic patients are not prone to violence.

“More disturbing is that an overrepresentation of psychosis within the press could mean a greater generalization of mental illness especially in the portrayals of neurosis. The worry here is that if the press maintains this representation of mental illness it could influence the public’s perception and they may begin to see the two different diagnostic categories interchangeably.

“In their quest to sell more newspapers the British press is sacrificing an objective portrayal of mental illness. In order for mental illness to become more accepted and understood, more accurate and favourable presentations must be offered by the media”

Source: University of Leicester

Can We Ever Forget Hannibal?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Can We Ever Forget Hannibal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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