Framställandet av psykisk ohälsa hos ungdomar - En diskursanalys av svensk press
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this research is to explore representations of youth mental illness by analysingarticles in Swedish newspapers. Mass media has a central role in depicting social problems andshaping public discourse on health. It affects the way we understand and manage our social reality.The theoretical framework used for approaching the purpose of this study and analysing thematerial involves a combination of a social constructionist perspective, critical discourse analysisand concepts regarding the construction of social problems and individualisation in (late) modernsociety. The material is based on 51 articles from four large Swedish news papers. Four themesappeared as the results were analysed: ”An epidemic”; ”A narrow cultural frame”; ”A healthdiscourse” and ”A harsh reality”. The results show that social problems are constructed mainlythrough the views of scientists and professionals and through references to large studies andestablished institutions and organisations. There is great variation in how mental illness isrepresented, what causes and what solutions are suggested. Whether it is an ”epidemic”, withuncertain causes, or a ”normal” reaction to ”normal” feelings which are sometimes exaggerated andsometimes enhanced by a ”narrow cultural frame”. There is a division between youth with ”real”issues with mental illness and ones with less serious problems who do not need to seek professionalhelp. This creates an illusion of the two groups being in opposition to one-another. Youth mentalillness is also portrayed through different forms of addiction, such as drug addiction and “socialmedia addiction”. These discourses tend use dichotomies (”good”/”bad”), reproduce reductionisticviews by suggesting solutions including stricter regulations and subjecting them to moral values.Health and the lack of exercise, along with the over-use of social media, is presented as a broadissue but the solutions are individualised. My hope is that the results of this study to rise criticallanguage awareness by shedding light on the social structures behind discourses and representationsin the media and use this as a tool for affected individuals and professionals to help counteractfeelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.
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