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Open Letter to Buzzfeed

Just messaged Buzzfeed about “13 Graphs Anyone Who’s Ever Been Depressed Will Understand” Here is my letter.

Dear Buzzfeed,

Loved the video called “13 Graphs Anyone Who’s Ever Been Depressed Will Understand” http://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/depression-101-yo?sub=3892461_6355916&utm_term=.nhbo2gEW3#6355916

As someone who has experienced acute depression, I would agree with the majority of graphs that you included, especially graph 6. that depicts what recovery looks like.

However, I was offended by the graph 4. “When people minimize what you’re going through.” We, as advocates, who also have lived experience, are working daily to combat the false association between “mental health disorders” and violence. It would appear as a non-issue to most, but to me it’s imperative that we take the time to consider the words that we are using because we are such a small voice taking a stand against the media.

Your use of the term murder is tacky. But, tacky is clever sometimes. Yet, in this case it is perpetuating false stereotypes that reinforce stigma that continues to fuel discriminatory practices and policies directed at individuals who experience mental health challenges.

I get that it’s not meant to imply that individuals who experience depression are actually going to murder people. For some people though the term “murder” being used in association with depression reinforces cognitive associations that they have made in response to the messaging they have received that people with “mental illness” are violent.

I am grateful that Buzzfeed took the time to consider the topic of depression. Buzzfeed is considered a tool for starting conversations that are often to uncomfortable to consider. The topic of mental health is certainly not taked about enough and so often people are just working off assumptions. This is overall a step forward for starting the conversation for the general public… yet is another example of how we, individuals with lived experience, can’t escape the unsupported link to violence.

Thank you for considering my position.

Michaela@mindlink.org


One Reply to “Open Letter to Buzzfeed”

  1. VRuiz says:

    Now this is awesome!! congrats for being so brave to combat this presumption and for being such an advocate for mental health.

    I have noticed that the media uses this sneaky tactic to spark up controversy and buzz in their article about mental health. They almost always find a way to offend someone.

    Yes their use of the word murder was definitely tacky and I’m so happy that you addressed that! I’m so sick of the negative associations with mental health challenges. There are a lot of people aware of the ways in which the media handles stories, reports and occurrences on mental health disorders and I’m happy to see that you, as well as lot of people, on this forum are a few of them.

    We are all small voices trying to stand up for change & it takes brave actions like this to make a difference.

    You really give me some motivation to fight these stereotypes.

    Thanks buzzfeed for even talking about mental health in general, but next time, be more mindful of the language you choose.


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