Webcomic As Means to Fight Stigmatization of Mental Disorders Among Adolescents
Mental disorders are a serious issue often being avoided. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental disorders are one of the most severe public health issues of the 21st century, as new studies show that mental disorders impact children and adolescents all over the world where half of all mental disorders begin at the age of 14 years old. That makes the issue an important part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda for improving the future by 2030. Notably, the suicidal trend among adolescents in Malaysia is rising alarmingly due to technological advancement and stigmatization. Stigma is closely related to faith and culture. It is a negative belief that causes bias within a group of individuals, resulting in stereotyping and discrimination. Those challenges have the heavy effect that the stigma has on them. The research aims to establish whether webcomics can rationalize knowledge or understanding and the potential to combat stigma against mental disorders and to propose a series of webcomics as awareness and means to fight stigmatization. The selected webcomics were then analyzed qualitatively, using both formal analysis and content analysis. The most influential keyword in these webcomics was 'depression and anxiety.' While the issue is taken seriously and requires more focus to express social messages, the webcomic needs a positive denotation to enlighten, motivate and persuade the audience to an impression towards Etsuro: "Shin no Manga". The webcomic series would somehow manage to communicate a profound impact on a suitable medium that through the powerfulness of the visual language may help bring the mental disorder to insight and recognition.
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