In our Tower Hamlets class on Monday students discussed the headline “1200 killed by Mental Health Patients” which recently appeared on the front page of The Sun. Some of the points discussed were that the cover stigmatises people suffering from mental illness and uses sensationalism to sell newspapers and therefore make profits. It ignores the wider problems such as staff shortages and cuts to the mental health sector. The majority of crimes are not committed by people with mental health problems and most people are getting the treatment they need. Calling people who suffer from mental illness ‘mental patients’ is offensive and they actually need help instead of being blamed. Also people with mental illness are actually more likely to be the victims of violence than the ones carrying it out.
After an interesting discussion students signed a petition on change.org that calls on The Sun to correct the sensationalism in their mental health story and donate the profits from it. Here is the link to the campaign where you can add your signature: www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/thesunnewspaper