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Mental Health Perspectives: Why Are We Afraid of Sharks?

SHARK WEEK: Why Are We Afraid of Sharks & Should You Be Afraid To Go Into The Water? 

Sharks, specifically great whites, were catapulted into the public eye with the release of the film Jaws in the summer of 1975. The film is the story of a massive great white that terrorizes a seaside community, and the image of the cover alone—the exposed jaws of a massive shark rising upward in murky water—is enough to inject fear into the hearts of would-be swimmers. Other thrillers have perpetuated the theme of sharks as villains.


According to the National Safety Council, your chances of getting attacked by a shark are nearly one in twelve million and your chances of dying if you are attacked are one in four million.

You should not be afraid to go into the water.

The 1975 film “Jaws” seems to have had a profound psychological impact on Americans spanning multiple generations. The idea of being devoured alive is horrifying and that fear has kept an untold number of individuals out of the ocean. When Discovery Channel does their annual “Shark Week” blitz of programming, I’m sure it has a chilling effect on some.  

Fear can cause some people to take greater care and caution (especially when swimming) however, too much of it can prevent you from enjoying the great things that life has to offer. The key here is balance. 

anxiety, clinical forensic psychologist, depression, Dr. John Huber, Forensic Psychology, life change, mental health, mental health perspectives, mental illness, positive change, psychology, psychology headlines, Ryan McCormick, social issues, substance abuse, Substance Use Disorder

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