NECS Workgroup – Media and Mental Health

The Media and Mental Health workgroup gathers scholars who investigate the interrelationships between media and mental health. The workgroup invites a broad range of topics to be discussed, from the use of telemedicine, the idea that media influences the mind, and representations of mental health problems in audiovisual media.

Since the 2000s interest in the relationship between audiovisual media and mental health has been growing, as shown by the ERC BodyCapital research program, the MedFilm platform, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and its Medicine on Screen collections and essays, the Wellcome collection or several important publications. All these works show the vitality of a field of research that aims to understand the role of the media in the medical sciences, which contributes early on to modifying the epistemology of medicine and health.

Despite this important social role of media, research on audiovisual materials concerning mental health issues has long been a niche in media studies and medical humanities. A similar development can be noticed for research on mental health problems in relation to other media forms such as television, streaming platforms, telemedicine devices, social media, video games, etc.

This NECS workgroup aims to reflect on the role of (audio)visual media in the construction of mental health-related knowledge and norms. Because it is an epistemic practice that produces discourses on what is normal and what is pathological, it has a central role in social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.

Therefore, we would like to question the ways in which the audiovisual media participate in drawing the boundaries between mental illness and health and what social, political and ideological issues underlie such processes.

Anyone interested in joining the working group can do so by becoming a member of NECS.

The workgroup is led by Mireille Berton (UNIL) & Bregt Lameris (Open Universiteit)

Insulin-Kur, Friedmatt Hospital (Basel) (c. 1960)

NECS 2022 panel

Respondant : Bregt Lameris

  • Katrin Pilz – Archiving Madness. Neurological Film Archives and the Dilemma of Seeing the Unseen Mental Diseased
  • Lorenzo Lorusso – Pandemic and Encephalitis in Medical and Fiction Films
  • Mireille Berton – Narrativize Madness and its Cure. The Case of Insulin Coma Therapy in Useful Films (1930-1960)
  • Janin Tscheschel – Documenting the Undocumentable? The Impact of Documentury Film on the Public Discourse about Mental Illness

In addition to the papers, Angela Saward will present a playlist of psychiatric films from the Wellcome Collection.