Advances in Mental Health, Vol 10, No 2 (2011)

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The Girl Least Likely – A linguistically informed media case review

Thomas Cheuk Wing Li


The author, a psychiatrist, sets out to review a television documentary about youth suicide with a linguistic sensitivity. Three main themes were identified. Firstly the documentary uses much linguistic resources to present depression as a potentially fatal medical disease. Secondly psychosocial factors such as the carer role and society’s performance driven attitude were undermined. Thirdly the issues of shame and interpersonal distancing (referred to as the sense of alienation) are discussed and linked to the biogenetic view of mental illness. The author concludes by advocating the need to foster mentalization and dialogues in mental health promotion which are inherently embedded in the language used.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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