Seeing positive mental health depictions on screen helps teens talk openly – report

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Seeing positive depictions of mental health conditions on screen encourages teenagers to talk more openly about the issue, research has found.

A study by the British Board of Film Classification shows that nearly seven in 10 teens (68%) agreed that seeing the conditions on screen breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health.

Almost half (48%) added that seeing it helps them understand the issues surrounding mental health.

As well as that, 75% of those in the study said that seeing positive portrayals on screen can act as a springboard to get help and help opening up discussions.

Elsewhere in the study, 41% of people said seeing a scene on TV or in a film encouraged them to to talk to their friends about a mental health issue, while 39% say it prompted them to open up to their parents.

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Almost two-thirds of teenagers said content warnings about themes and issues coming up were important, adding that it helps them to protect their own mental health and make informed decisions about what they want to watch.

Anxiety, stress and depression were the three biggest mental health concerns for teens, according to the study, with 64% of teens saying they wanted warnings on film and TV shows that feature content surrounding them.

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Body image, suicide and self-harm were also among the issues teenagers felt most concerned by.

Some 78% of 13-18 years also believe that the media industry has an important role to play when talking about mental health issues.

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