It is time for Horror films to stop using mental illness as an easy escape route

Samantha St. Pierre, Special to The Big Red

After a long day I had decided to watch the new movie Split. With high expectations since everyone hyping up the film, I was disappointed that the misrepresentation of mental illness had been overlooked by many.

The antagonist, David Dunn, is diagnosed with a dissociative identity disorder having 23 different personalities- 4 of which the ‘personalities’ kidnap 3 girls. Mental health advocates say that Spilt stigmatizes dissociative identity disorder and may directly impact those living with it.

The movie also represents this community diagnosed with this illness as one not being able to control themselves and turning violent towards the people surrounding them.

Many popular thrillers use mental disorders for horror but to what extent will these real-life traumas be used for a thrill that represents these disorders poorly.

The Mental Health Foundation asserts that the social stigma surrounding mental health issues makes recovery harder. People with these disorders watch these movies and believe that there is something wrong with them and they start to isolate themselves.

Not only changes perspective for the mentally ill but everyone else surrounding them. Society starts to cut off ties with anyone suffering from a mental illness which makes things harder for those who are trying to live a normal life. The sense these people are a threat and why would you want to be associated with someone who has a disorder that represents killing others in movies.

Being a fan of horror myself it is very saddening to see all the poor representation of the mentally ill. Just because someone has depression does not mean they will act out in violence. Just because someone has dissociative identity disorder they will kidnap someone. No one should see their illness described on film as a nuisance on society and have a feeling of isolation from the world.

Hollywood should start portraying mental illnesses in a positive light. Spread more information on what it is like to live with a dissociative identity disorder rather than using it as an easy thriller topic.

It’s unfair to take disorders real people suffer from and minimize them. Horror movies are still quite a ways off from being excellent portrayals of mental health and that needs to change.

Movies like Spilt should find other ways to represent the antagonist rather than having a mental disorder background. It is unfair for people to be represented poorly just for something they can not help especially if it’s going to be associated with violence and kidnapping that most people in the real world with these disorders would not even think twice about doing.

These movies make the common person think of people with disorders such as dissociative identity disorder as dangers so how are the mentally ill suppose to feel like they are normal with an awful portrayal of their thoughts.