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Volume 4 2020 "Pretend Crazy": Comments Surrounding Romanticizing Mental Illness on YouTube

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작성자 Janelle Shaina Ng, Edson C. Tandoc Jr. 작성일 20-06-30 16:21
Mental illness   Mental illness stigma   Romanticizing mental illness   YouTube video commentary   Faking


Discerning whether one has mental illness is not an uncommon conundrum even if it is rarely discussed. Mental illness is highly stigmatised and discernment often happens privately using materials from online sources. Hence, narratives presented in the online space can heavily influence how audiences interpret their mental health. Unhelpful descriptions can be misleading and cause further distress to vulnerable audiences or cause further stigmatisation against the mentally ill. Using an online comment scraper, we extracted the comments section of two popular videos that discuss the issue of romanticizing mental illness and how some people might be ‘faking’ it. Then, using thematic analysis, the comments were organised into themes in reaction to specific video content and discussed. The following surfaced as strong points of discussion in the commentary: vagueness of discerning what is a mental illness experience, trivialization of emotional distress, and what descriptive terms are appropriate and congruent for describing mental illness. Finally, some opportunities for future endeavours to address support for, education, and discernment of mental illness are highlighted.