Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Suicide

Authored by: Rosalie S. Aldrich , Jessie M. Quintero Johnson

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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Research suggests that both mental illness and suicide are quite prevalent in the United States. The study of mental health necessitates engagement with diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives and also demands attention to an array of communicative phenomena. In this review, we use a communication lens to examine the complexities surrounding mental health, mental illness, and suicide. We review the myriad factors that influence perceptions about and experiences of mental health, mental illness, and suicide. Specifically, we discuss psychological and intrapersonal processes, stigma, interpersonal relationships, provider-patient interactions, health diagnosis and treatment, news and entertainment media representations, and social media interactions. Communication scholarship can and should play an integral role in shaping our understanding of these multifaceted topics in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and suicide.

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