Not content with womansplaining how men feel about women proposing marriage, motormouth Katie Hopkins has lashed out once more and practically declared that depression doesn’t exist. Speaking from her ivory tower, she devolved to spreading all the stereotypes about mental health following the events of the Germanwings tragedy last week.
As far as Hopkins is concerned, suicidal people are merely “attention seeking bastards” who should “top themselves in private”. Many people do, Katie. I know of at least two men who have taken their own lives and both did it in private.
Much can be said about the poor and stereotypical view of the mentally ill presented in the media in the wake of the tragedy, most of all about the pilot’s mental state on the day of the crash, but no clear motive has yet been determined. We know he underwent psychotherapy in the months leading up to the crash and we know he was suicidal. These facts cannot be denied. What is not clear is his mental state on the day of the crash. It has been speculated that he was pushed back to work before he was ready. Only after the investigation will we know the full facts.
Mental health charity Mind were quick to respond (as were the male mental health charity CALM) to media reports and we know that leaping to sensationalist conclusions is part and parcel of the media these days. Hopkins took it one step further in setting the clock back decades on the day the country was putting its clocks forward (excellent phrase from James Martin!)
She goes on to repeat ridiculous tropes about how a pair of running shoes can cure depression. Not only is this crass and offensive, it has been disproven time and time again. Exercise, fresh air, forcing a smile and a positive mentality are not cures for properly diagnosed clinical depression. The more we maintain that depressed people want to be that way, the more we reinforce stereotypes and the more we unjustly demonise people.
We know that men are far more likely to take their own lives than women: 78% and rising year on year, while the percentage and number of women decreases. We also know that it manifests itself differently in men. It will be displayed as angry outbursts, short temper, alcoholism and sometimes physical violence – even in people who are not usually violent. Usually, most depressed men are more likely to hurt themselves than somebody else which means we must take extra caution before leaping to the conclusions about this terrible crash. Murder-suicide is rare and despite sensationalist reporting, far less common than straight suicide.