Adverts: Do They Damage Our Mental Health?

Every day we are bombarded by advertisements, on TV, in magazines, on the radio, billboards, bus stops. Adverts surround us. I think that adverts are damaging upon our mental health, our confidence and our self-esteem. They push this idealistic and perfect life upon us and convince us that is the norm.

Cereal adverts with happy families sat around the breakfast table playfully laughing make us feel like every other family but ours is like that on a school morning when the reality is that people are rushing around to leave on time, there’s probably tears and sibling fights and someone’s lost their shoes and mum is tutting and rolling her eyes at dad.

Car adverts that make us think that if we have that car then our baby daughter will sleep soundly for the whole car journey, the family will be calm and relaxed when the reality is that your baby daughter is teething and screaming the car down with dribble down her chin and baby food splodged on her dress.

Mobile phone adverts that tell us that their mobile phone will make your relationship better. Your partner will remember the shopping list, your anniversary and surprise you with flowers and therefore you will have the ‘perfect’ relationship that you dreamt of when you were a child watching Disney films. The reality of course is that the phone keeps freezing and he accidentally leans on a button in his pocket and calls you and all you can hear is mumbles and then you go to the toilet and the phone falls out your pocket and smashes a year and a half before you can upgrade.

The dieting advert with the smiling, happy woman who now goes out to dinner parties with friends and they all smile and laugh and everything is so wonderful because she is now slim. The reality is that dieting makes you miserable, you lost weight but you lost your personality too and you’re scared of piling on the pounds so going out with your friends for dinner is a definite no. You feel heartbroken and empty when you realise the number on the scale has no impact on the quality of your life or your happiness.

The advert to join the forces that tells you that you will be ‘made’ if you join. It convinces you that you will become this amazing, strong and confident human being and that you will be sorted for life if you join. What young, unemployed soul wouldn’t want that?! What they don’t tell you is that you will see horrific things and when you have post traumatic stress disorder they won’t be prepared to help you. They will tell you that you are weak and you’ll have to rely on charities to get better.

Adverts put so much pressure on people to be perfect that it makes people feel like they can’t be ‘real’. We create these online avatars on facebook, twitter and instagram and convince people that we are living the perfect life that adverts tell us others do. We must have the perfect body, eat the perfect food, wear the perfect clothes, drive the perfect car and have the perfect career….oh and have insurance that means our children get a meerkat toy so that they can be happy. I think that this is so damaging, people are striving for these unachievable lives that no one lives. We must remember that adverts are made with actors, they are creative pieces not real pieces.

Adverts can lead to isolation as people feel they are alone in their school run arguments or their binge eating or their car that constantly breaks down. People feel inadequate and bottle up imperfections rather than talking about them. Materialism isn’t happiness or health, it’s a short term fix and about how we appear to others. I think that the idealistic world that adverts convince us exist causes so much damage upon society’sĀ mental health.

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