Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Medical Mutes

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As Brits we seem to be programmed to not talk about health problems; arguably out of all health problems we avoid mental health the most. Health awareness seems to be a popular topic currently, but where do you begin when tackling a nation of medical-mutes?

Television programs seem to be the start, after all what makes better entertainment than watching other people suffer and be thankful that we aren’t suffering ourselves? Dr Christian Jessen seems to be at the forefront of this whether it be: people getting undiagnosed cysts, sores and bunions out for the camera; throwing the skinniest and the fattest of society into an all exposing meal swap or a horrendously frank display of the shocking physical consequences of obesity. I doubt I’m alone in thinking that if your life is that awful why broadcast it to the millions that tune into these programs. If Dr Jessen is right in what he seems to say when he is asked this same question time upon time and the sufferers do go into these programs because they’ve been let down before, nobody being able to find the answers to their persistent problems I suppose it is doing good in displaying sometimes bizarre and rare conditions to the nation, providing hope for suffers at home.

Jessen’s programs provide a stark insight into the world of some horrific conditions, providing insight for the naive viewer. Take Supersize Vs Superskinny for instance, the program shows that disordered eating patterns are not confided to the dinner table they influence every aspect of life thus morphing and becoming a way of life. It’s a shame that educating the nation has to be done in such a shock-factor manner but if this is making people take their health seriously it is surely worth it.

Series 6 of Supersize Vs Superskinny sees recovering anorexic Emma Woolf delve into the world of eating disorders, speaking to experts and suffers alike to look at the roots of the torturing disorders. Frank discussions with suffers provide viewers with more of an understanding of conditions, hopefully minimising the stigma associated with conditions such as anorexia, after all the empty “just eat” comment has to stop.

Advertising campaigns such as Time to Change are also addressing this stigma, if we talk about cancer or heart disease or broken bones so openly why can’t mental health be discussed in the same way? Why is there some sort of personal blame stigma attached to it in a way that there isn’t physical conditions? If these campaigns are working as we hope, suffers should cease to suffer in silence and feel empowered to seek help.
Location: Gateshead, Gateshead

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