Looking at the representation of adults at risk in the media

Looking at the representation of adults at risk in the media

Posted on Aug 26, 2016

Looking at the representation of adults at risk in the media



In a previous blog we defined the types of adults at risk, and who is most likely to be abused – if you missed it, you can read it here.

We explained that someone that has a mental health condition or disorder, including eating, hoarding or a personality disorder, may be more susceptible to abuse.


Making a drama out of a crisis

Depictions of mental health in TV soaps and drama are becoming more and more common, and are prompting people to seek support according to Time To Change, the organisation at the fore-front of ending mental health discrimination and the stigma attached.

Their report, published in November 2014 entitled ‘Making a drama out of a crisis’ included new findings about the impact that mental health storylines have on wider public debate revealing very encouraging results.

These included:

  • Over half (54%) of people said that seeing a well-known character on screen has improved their understanding of mental health problems.
  • 48% said it helped to change their opinion about the kind of people who can develop these problems.
  • 31% said it actively inspired them to start a conversation about the storyline with friends, family or colleagues.

Time To Change found that mental health is being covered more frequently in storylines compared to a previous study conducted back in 2010. Appearing in soaps such as EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Home & Away, through to dramas including My Mad Fat Diary, Orange Is the New Black and Homeland.


Our appetite for media

Our interest in television and soap opera means this format has a huge potential for reaching large – particularly young – audiences. Opening up the dialogue between screen and viewer.


OITNB (warning: spoilers)

Lori Petty's portrayal of character ‘Lolly Whitehill’ in the Netflix series, ‘Orange Is The New Black’ is one of the most recent illustrations of an Adult at Risk on our screens. A combination of events mixed with Lolly's illness sees her admitted to the psychiatric ward in one of the season's most heart-breaking developments.

In a recent interview, Petty talked about shining a light on mental health and why the mistreatment of the topic needs to be discussed.

"We treated it so seriously, even though Lolly is funny and lovable —she’s very relatable and people see her as a friend. She even says, 'I’m the good friend.' Because she is. I think it grows compassion and empathy and the more people can see it, the more they can get a handle on it."



Let’s Talk About Mental Health

American designer, Jessica Walsh’s recent project ‘Let's Talk About Mental Health’ tackles the stigma of sharing struggles with mental health.

Using the Instagram account letstalkaboutmentalhealth, Walsh compiles honest accounts from people dealing with all kinds of mental health issues — and invites followers to share their own experiences and stories via the website, 12 Kinds of Kindness.


lets talk about mental health


Time to Change

Time To Change have also created an Instagram account timetochangecampaign encouraging people to share their stories and experiences.

Followers use the hashtags #timetochange, #endstigma and #timetotalk amongst others to discuss their illness and built a community of support for each other.


Time to Change


It’s important to remember that anyone over the age of 18 with any type of vulnerability can be subject to abuse, and whilst this include adults with mental health issues, the spectrum of those at risk is unfortunately far, far greater.


Safeguarding training

Adult safeguarding training ensures we understand forms of adult abuse, who is particularly vulnerable to abuse, what to look out for and how and when to act. Any training you provide should be updated when new laws come into place. Subscribing with flick offers access to all flick courses, plus downloadable guides and resources in the flick library. So why not sign up today?


Adults at risk


Related articles

Adults at risk: Neglect, Financial and Institutional Abuse Adults at risk: Neglect, Financial and Institutional Abuse

Adults at risk: Physical, Sexual and Psychological Abuse Adults at risk: Physical, Sexual and Psychological Abuse

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An introduction to the definition of adults at risk - who is most likely to be abused? An introduction to the definition of adults at risk

What are the 5 forms of domestic abuse? What are the 5 forms of domestic abuse?



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