--Original published at Victoria's Psych Blog

Schizophrenia in the media is typically portrayed as people who hear voices and they only discuss consperacies the voices tell them. People affected with it are typically described in the media as crazy and it is said that symptoms are sudden onset. However, I have done a lot of research on my own time on schizophrenia and I personally know someone with it. The media does not portray the affected persons well at all. They especially do not show the patients support system. The person I know with schizophrenia described similar experiences as in the video. They described the voices in their mind as always arguing with each other and they had a hard time focusing on issues. This was portrayed in the video when the voices argued on whether to open the door or answer the phone. I did like that the video had the wife come in and was very calm about the pizza on the floor. A support system is huge with people that have schizophrenia. The affected person might not be able to care for themselves and having someone to help them care for themselves and ease them back to reality. Schizophrenia is a very complicated disease and I enjoyed the video because it helps someone understand what a schizophrenic goes through on a daily basis.

Chapter 14 First Impression

--Original published at Voltage Blog

The video started off very normal and typical and I was expecting more to happen. I did not realize schizophrenics sometimes had voices telling them what to do. Throughout the video I became more aware of how much they are affected by this illness. By seeing this video, I am more aware of what schizophrenics are experiencing on a daily basis and will hopefully be able to identify these symptoms if they appear later in my life for myself or someone else. I was not aware that this illness was able to cause hallucinations such as altering the news on the TV and having the news anchors talk directly at the person. I thought this was very strange and rather frightening. It is a feeling that everything is out to get you and only you and you have very little control over the outcome. It was almost like the person was being controlled by the illness and force them into protecting themselves from everything. From the things that I have seen on the media, this video feels like a horror movie compared to what they have been saying. Most media just glance over this illness and do not give a second thought about it. Schizophrenia not only messes with someone’s everyday routine, but it affects the person’s life. Not many people are truly aware of what schizophrenia is capable of doing, but by showing this video to them, it will help make them more aware as to what this illness is able to do.

Ch 14 First Impression Post

--Original published at Ben's PSY105 Blog

Dr. Saks’s story was a very deep, thought provoking one. Listening to her describe her condition was truly eye opening about mental illnesses. People are always trying to describe mental illnesses even though they’ve never experienced them. The “typical narrative” of schizophrenia is that the patient has distinct personalities, and they are competing to control the patient. Hearing Dr. Saks describe her experiences showed how far off the general public is with their understanding of the condition. Public ignorance of mental illness is not just for schizophrenia. Lots of people claim to have disorders they’ve never been diagnosed with. If you were to poll people in the street, a lot would probably claim to have OCD, when in reality, most of them don’t.

As a society, we seem to be moving in the right direction in terms of getting rid of the stigma attached to mental illnesses, but despite the progress there is still a long way to go. Lots of people are still afraid to get help for their issues because they don’t want to believe they have a “problem”. A major part of the reason people like Dr. Saks are able to overcome their issues is because they got help. People are reluctant to go to doctors for mental issues because of the stigma, but they are willing to go to the doctor when they have a cough. As a society, we need to collectively get rid of the stigma of mental illnesses. People shouldn’t be afraid to get help for their problems, but society still makes them feel uncomfortable acknowledging them.

Chapter 14 Impression Post

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

In Elyn Saks TED talk, she describes her struggle with mental illness throughout her life. She worked to ween herself off medication, which did not work, and eventually she managed to balance her life with her mental illness. Watching this video, I felt pity the entire time. Living with schizophrenia sounds like a job you can never get away from. She was constantly struggling and it seemed to get in the way of her schoolwork, and a lot of the people she described being around her who were supposed to help her, seemed to make it worse and did not understand.

Compared to how schizophrenia is depicted in movies and TV, I think most times they are pretty accurate. Saks described being restrained on a bed many times, even when she was not violent. She describes muttering sentences that don’t make sense, and seeing things that are not there, stuff of nightmares. As far as I have seen in entertainment, schizophrenia is depicted almost exactly as Saks described. Before watching the TED talk, I expected Saks to describe her experience differently.

I think Elyn Saks turned out differently because she had this ingrained motivation to make herself better and not become her illness. Saks worked to get through law school, even when she struggled with symptoms. She attempted to live without her medication and tried for so long, until friends told her she needed to be on her medication. She describes having an excellent support system of people who understand her and her illness. I feel that having people around you who are understanding and willing to help is the important aspect of dealing with a mental illness.

Chapter 14 First Impression Post

--Original published at Ally'sCollegeBlog

Option 1:

I have watched movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” with my parents and that was my primary education on Schizophrenia. I have never done much research on it because I thought the movies looked realistic. After watching the video, my mindset has changed. I was so captivated on how they made it feel like you were living in that person’s shoes. I have come to realize that my views on people with Schizophrenia are incorrect. It was interesting that the voices were very self loathing. They tried to diminish the person’s confidence and make him/her more paranoid. In the beginning of the video everything seemed normal and calm but as the day progressed, the hallucinations and voices grew. At the end a lady shows up, I believe it is either a caregiver or romantic partner. Anyways, before she walks in you hear all these voices and it is very overwhelming but right as she entered the house, everything fell silent and it was peaceful again. It was very interesting to me that she was almost a reality check or an rock for him.

I think the media has skewed not only Schizophrenia but all mental illnesses. It contorts them to either make a good plot in a movie or diminishes them to were there is little to no awareness at all. It is sad that the places we turn to for truth do not provide accurate information. I am not saying movies are an accurate source for anything, but that is how many kids learn. From watching television or a big motion picture, children can absorb false knowledge. That is exactly what happened to me. I thought Schizophrenia was very different than what it really is, and it is all because of a movie.

Ch 14 First Impression

--Original published at MaddieHinson

Option 1:

Before I watched the youtube video, I thought for a minute about how I perceived Schizophrenia to be like in people. What I knew about it wasn’t much, mostly just what the media has portrayed. I’ve seen a few shows/movies where it has been depicted. In a Grey’s Anatomy episode, a girl had scratches and cuts all over her body, because there were voices in her head telling her there was something inside of her that needed to get out. In another episode, there was a man who would have a psychotic breakdown if his mom wasn’t with him, and the only thing that would calm him down was if he made a list about what to get at the grocery store. Those seemed relatively accurate from as far as I can tell.

Watching the Youtube video, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As the voices started, and the video went on, it definitely got a more creepy, and I can see if you aren’t in your right mind how convincing those voices can get. It also would be very stressful and confusing because you aren’t sure who to believe, and there’s chaos going on in your head most of the time. I thought it was interesting that whenever the caretaker (woman) came home, that everything seemed to go back to normal. I wonder if that is apart of Schizophrenia, when you are around someone you had previously trusted, that the symptoms start to go away. I also would not know how to care for someone with this disease because I feel like you would not be able to tell when they are hearing voices or not.

Chapter 14 First Impression Prompts – Mental Illness

Hand writing on a notebook

Here are the prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, use the tag “Mental Illness.”

Option 1

Schizophrenia is often depicted dramatically in the media, and has been the subject of many major films like A Beautiful Mind, The Soloist, and Donnie Darko. Less frequently, however, do people get the chance to think about the daily life of someone who experiences hallucinations and delusions. Watch this video which simulates the experience of a person with schizophrenia, share your reactions, and compare this to how you typically see schizophrenia in the media.

Option 2

People often associate schizophrenia with the homeless population or mental hospitals, but rarely do we think about people who are professionally very successful. One person who is thriving despite her schizophrenia is Elyn Saks, who received her law degree from Yale and is a professor at the University of Southern California. In her TED Talk, she describes how she struggled with her disorder and was eventually able to manage her condition and take control of her life. Share your reactions to the video, discuss how her story compares to the “typical narrative” of schizophrenia, and discuss why you think she turned out differently than other people with this disorder.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator

Spotlight Blog Post 3

--Original published at David's Blog

For our third and final spotlight blog post I decided to do my topic on mental illness in tv and how it turns it into entertainment. We are to compare different articles on mental illness in tv and discuss weather or not it is ethical or not. Before starting this blog post I am sort of on the edge and I am not to sure if it is ethical or not.

“Some are less offensive than others, but overall they tend to highlight examples of low or no insight, such as a client who cannot recognize that a food item is rotten, and they zoom in on squalor.” stated by Everyday Health. One of the biggest problems with mental health tv shows is how they only look at the worse cases. This is done since viewers are more likely to view shows with more odd or strange people with these illness. By doing this it can misinform the public on on the mental illness portrayed in the show.

“media should ‘desist from using mental health problems to entertain and shock the public.'” written by Anna Almendrala. One of the other big reasons on why these tv shows are not ethical is how it exploits peoples personal problems. This alone can be fine but the producers are doing it so they can get more views on their shows.

“In this case, the families or individuals have to agree to the ‘intervention’ and work with the organizers.” stated by Movie Rewind. This is one of the up sides to the television shows. They bring in teams and experts to get the people with the mental illness help. The teams that come in do their best to help people turn their lives around for the better. Having a whole group of people helping to turn someones life around can do so much good in their lives, sometimes in the show they even do check ups on past people to see how they are doing.

“These realistic depictions of mental illness can be deeply helpful to those who suffer at home.” written by By showing these mental illness to the general public it can help people more aware of the illness. By making the public aware of the illness it can also help others see if they may have a mental illness of their own. This can be both good and bad. If a show gives false info and bad symptoms on the illness audience members can do a false diagnostic. But if the info is portrayed correctly it can help people do accurate self diagnostics and the audience will be more likely to seek help from professionals.

After looking at all the articles on mental illness in tvI was able to form a better opinion on weather it was ethical or not. Personally I think I can be good and bad. If the person that is focused on in the show give consent to filming I think it can be very beneficial for the general audience to learn more about certain illness. We have to be carful though when producing shows like hoarders they need to include correct and accurate information for the public. If that can be do those tv shows can be both ethical and beneficial.




Spotlight Blog Post: Mental Health

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

Although I am pretty familiar with the reality television show, Hoaders, I could never actually bring myself to watch it. I never understood why millions of people would take time out of their schedules to watch other individuals struggle with a serious mental illness. A few years ago, just thinking about the show made me feel uncomfortable. Before this assignment, I initially thought Hoarders was an inappropriate form of entertainment because it put people’s lives on display. I never thought this was right – or even ethical! I felt as if those who were on the show were being wrongfully exposed, and I thought the purpose of the show was to mock what they are going through. Now, after learning more about mental health in our psychology class, I realize I may have been ignorant, and I might have misjudged the motivations behind airing this type of show. I wrongfully assumed Hoarders to be an unethical program without even watching it, but after reading various articles, I now realize the people on the show have agreed to be on television. I think this is because the majority of the individuals on the show actually have the desire to get better, and they want a public platform to share their stories. Throughout this semester, we have observed what psychology looks like in the media. In order to solidify my opinions concerning this topic, I discovered differing online sources to ensure I understood both sides.

The first article I found, written by Laurie Edwards-Tate, discusses how Hoarders has successfully created necessary awareness for the serious psychological condition of compulsive hoarding. The author effectively paints a picture describing what the hoarders’ homes look like, and how much the clutter, lack of organization, and reclusiveness devastates their families. This article accurately draws connections between the show and the symptoms of serious hoarding, citing reliable sources like the Mayo Clinic. Edwards-Tate points out how Hoarders accurately depicts the ways in which these very real symptoms show up in the lives of those with the illness. Instead of simply reading the symptoms in order to gain perspective into this type of mental illness, by watching Hoarders, viewers can truly see how these symptoms dictate those who are affected. Although it is unfortunate, Edwards-Tate also expresses how much the older generation is affected by this disorder. The show is important because it can show the younger generation ways to care for those with compulsive hoarding tendencies. Edwards-Tate closes this article with advice and evidence centered around what not to do around these individuals. For example, she explains how going behind a hoarder’s back and throwing their stuff away while only isolate the hoarder further. Although this article helped me gain perspective into why Hoarders should be watched, it still is not extremely credible because it was deeply opinionated, and it read like a blog. Regardless, it was still an informative article to read because it did cite the Mayo Clinic, and the author clearly understood the ramifications of this type of mental illness.

The next article I read in support of TV shows which delve into mental health disorders, like Hoarders, is located on a website called “Everyday Health.” This article is set up like a blog post, with health professions, Debbie Stanley, Marilyn Tomfohrde, and Lori Watson, commenting their opinions on the benefits, and the negative aspects, of this type of show. This was an interesting article to read because two of the health professions, Tomfohrde and Watson, agree that Hoarders is a positive program, which gives an honest representation of what it is like to have a mental illness like compulsive hoarding. Stanley, however, disagrees and believes Hoarders does more harm than good, and it even exploits those who are on the show. The evidence she uses to support stems from how the show treats the hoarders. For example, she explains how the show highlights the affected individuals as societal outcasts. Instead of causing people to be sympathetic, Stanley believes these types of shows targets individuals and makes them feel alone, which furthers their compulsive behaviors. The health professions who are in agreeance with TLC’s choice to air Hoarders also use evidence to support their opinions. For example, Watson explains how Hoarders not only shows people how to deal with their mental illnesses, but it also brings families together because this program allows them to deal with the illness as a family unit. She expresses how difficult it is for people with mental illness to seek help on their own, so having a program, which brings organizing specialists into their lives, helps them cope. It even helps their families become part of the process, which produces greater odds in them overcoming this type of illness. Much like Lori Watson, Marilyn Tomfohrde also believes Hoarders is an accurate representation of this particular condition. She expresses how effectively Hoarderscaptures the realness behind what it is like to have a mental illness. By helping people deal with their hoarding addiction and airing it publicly, it provides hope for others who are dealing with compulsive hoarding tendencies. This article was interesting because it came from three healthcare professionals: one who disagreed with the show, and two who agreed. Although the two agreed with Hoarders, the person with disagreeing input gave me a new perspective, and also decreased potential bias. Although this site was insightful, and the comments were meaningful, I wouldn’t say it has a lot of scholarly merit. Since it was set up like a blog, it consisted of three individual’s opinions instead of pure psychological facts and findings.

After reading these first two articles, which were mainly in support of controversial mental health TV shows, I wanted to get a different perspective. The first article I visited which advised against watching Hoarders is called, “Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good.” The author, Anna Almendrala, believes this show degrades the seriousness of mental health issues. She states those who are on the show are rushed to throw away their things just so they can entertain people. Almendrala critiques the show because it suggests compulsive hoarding is a disorder which can be resolved quickly. It suggests people can hire a cleaning lady to fix all their problems, and then they don’t have to deal with their mental health again. Despite her criticisms, Almendrala does commend the show for drawing attention to mental health issues; however, she does not believe it should be a form of entertainment for people since it is such a serious issue for some. This article seems the most credible out of all of the websites I visited. Almendrala addresses the pros and cons of watching the show, instead of simply stating the negative impacts it may have. She references reports from the British Psychological Society, and she also quotes multiple psychologists about what it means to suffer from compulsive hoarding. This article was easy to read because of its organization, and it also presented a logical and well-researched argument for not watching shows like Hoarders.

I chose to view “Stop Watching ‘Hoarders:’ Our Lurid Reality TV Obsession with Mental Illness Has Crossed a Line” as my last article, which highly disagrees with how the show represents mental health illnesses. The author, Rachel Kramer Bussel, never watched the show because she personally dealt with hoarding tendencies. She did not want to watch others deal with it since she herself battles with it. After overcoming her issues with hoarding, she decided to give the show a try, in hopes it would help people by showcasing the hardships they are going through. She, however, was disappointed with how those on the show are represented. She believes the hoarders are exploited and are often misrepresented in order for the show to be approved for more seasons. Bussel supports her claims with evidence centering around how the commercials advertise the phrase “more extreme than ever.” She is sickened by this because the TV show is selfishly benefiting off the illnesses of others instead of trying to help them for honest reasons. The author does not believe Hoarders should be a reality TV show because mental health should be not a form of entertainment for “normal” people. Also, if people are trying to overcome compulsive hoarding, they shouldn’t watch Hoarders. Instead, she suggests reading memoirs, such as Judy Batalion’s White Walls, because it does not exploit the condition like reality TV does. She concludes the article by stating those who watch reality TV to avoid their own problems, should stop worrying about others and should take control of their own lives. I found this article, and the website, to be credible. Not only does the author supply evidence from how the show advertises to support her thoughts, but she also gives credit to other websites and psychologists who agree Hoarders should not be watched as reality television.

After reading all of these articles and gaining much more insight into this topic, I still believe Hoarders has the power to do good things for those who are struggling with compulsive hoarding. If people want to watch reality TV, I think it should be about something meaningful, that promotes change and understanding. After reading the articles opposed to the show, I realized the producers of Hoarders need to refrain from dramatizing mental illnesses in order to get viewers; however, I still think the way the show highlights the effects of hoarding, both on the individual’s personal life and their family, is a great way to promote the seriousness of mental health issues. After this semester, I now realize the effects of mental health, and how necessary it is to continue to help those who seek attention.


Almendrala, Anna. “Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 17 June 2015,


Bussel, Rachel. “Stop Watching ‘Hoarders’: Our Lurid Reality TV Obsession with Mental Illness Has Crossed a Line.” Salon,, 23 Jan. 2016,

Link:            bsession_with_mental_illness_has_crossed_a_line/

Edwards-Tate, Laurie. “Ending Its Fourth Season Next Week, the A&E Network Series Hoarders Is Drawing Huge Audiences and Higher Ratings than Ever.” Hoarders: Reality TV Exposes a Serious Psychological Condition | At Your Home Familycare, 11 Aug. 2011,  exposes-a-serious-psychological-condition/.

Link: tv-exposes-a-serious-psychological-condition/

Stanley, Debbie, et al. “Does Reality TV Accurately Portray Hoarding?” Stroke Center, Ziff Davis, LLC, 10 Jan. 2014, disorders/experts-does-tv-accurately-portray-hoarding.aspx.

Link: portray-hoarding.aspx







Spotlight 3-Prompt 2

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

Mental illness is a controversial and often tabooed subject which has recently come to light in several popular TV shows such as Hoarding:Buried Alive. Though these shows can offer the general public an insight into how these mental illness effect the personal and professional relationships of the individuals dealing with them, I believe these shows are inherently disrespectful and unethical. In addition to this, the shows provoke unnecessary stereotypes and beliefs which exploit the people struggling with these mental illnesses and do not help them to get any better.

Regardless of whether or not the shows are ethical, there have been success stories of people who have gotten better and overcame their mental illness because of the show Hoarding: Buried Alive. Chris, a 46 year old Navy veteran was unable to have others enter his home, including his longtime girlfriend Annie. Chris felt he was unable to de-clutter his house or throw out anything he did not need because of the slight chance he may desperately need it in the future. Chris began meeting one-on-one with a cognitive-behavioral therapist in his home (funded by the show), in which the therapists worked with him to examine his thoughts and feelings about his possessions in order to help him distinguish whether he should save or discard them. By the end of the episode, Chris had made strides in decluttering his house and was able to begin to confront the idea of entertaining guests in his townhouse. Because of the attention and resources Chris received through the show, he was able to reform connections with those in his life he had lost touch with (such as his brother). In this sense, the show plays an imperative role in the future success of individuals suffering from mental disorders and compulsions leading to things such as hoarding. This source is credible because it is unbiased, and simply recounts one of the episodes of the show.

While the show does face much controversy, hoarding expert Marilyn Tomfohrde thinks the show gives, “an honest reputation of the condition.” Tomfohrde believes hoarders with less severe issues can view the show and be inspired to begin a de-cluttering project in their own home. She also believes the show gives an insight as to how frustrating a hoarding situation can be for all involved, and how desperate people become to solve it. She believes the TV show documents how desperate people are for help, and how the general public as a community need to realize how prevalent the issue of hoarding is for so many people. I believe this source is credible, but it does not explicitly state the TV show being either explicitly bad or explicitly good. It was difficult to find evidence of the show being ethical, so this website is more of a pro/con list which evaluates both sides of the argument.

Though some view the show in a positive light and it does help some people to overcome their emotional and psychological issues, there are far more who believe the show is exploitive and has a negative impact on the community as a whole. Licensed professional counselor Debbie Stanley believes the show over dramatizes the condition, and represents the victims of compulsive hoarding disorder as having little to no insight into their condition. She also believes it is a disservice to the condition and to those suffering from it to publicize it being cured simply by cleaning out the clutter. Stanley states stripping away a person’s coping mechanism (their clutter) before giving the appropriate therapeutic treatment is cruel and usually results in more severe degree of hoarding. I believe this source is accurate and reliable because it is written through testimonials given by licensed and highly educated psychologists and therapists, and they are able to give a professional insight into the show and the condition itself.

In the Huffington Post article on the ethical merits of the show, Anna Almendrala states her opinion of the show doing more harm than good. She provides a quote from author Randy Frost who says, “The shows promote the idea of arriving at a house with a cleaning crew and pressuring people to discard possessions is the way to solve the problem.” As stated previously by Debbie Stanley, this forced clean-out without the supplemental therapy can be detrimental to the psychological health of the parties involved. Because people who suffer from a hoarding disorder are likely to have experienced a traumatic event in their past, many critics of the show also believe it discourages seeking the root of the problem, and instead provides a temporary fix or a band aid to cover it from the view of the public. This means the individual suffering from the condition is still struggling from the consequences of their disorder and is not given help or resources for the underlying trauma they experienced. I believe this source is accurate because it provides testimony from both the positive and negative views of the show in an attempt to eliminate bias.