Mindframe guidelines on media reporting of severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime

This new resource empowers safe and responsible reporting on the issues of mental illness in the context of violence and crime, which seeks to minimise stigma and promote help-seeking behaviour.

Informed by research and expertise from a panel of media and mental health professionals as well as consumer advocates, the guidelines seek to set a standard on best-practice reporting on the issues of mental illness in the context of violence and crime.

The resource forms part of a PhD project, supported by graduate research scholarships from National Health and Medical Research Council (MHMRC) and Australian Rotary Health to Anna Ross (Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne).

The guidelines provide insight around:

  • The impact of news reports on mental illness and crime
  • How to report on the issues accurately
  • How to incorporate and provide relevant context
  • The use of supportive and person-centred language
  • The provision of help-seeking information
  • Selection and framing of supportive video and images
  • Steps for responsible discussion of the issue via social media
  • Opportunities for further training and mentoring.

The media can play an important role in challenging stigma and stereotypes about mental illness.

Given that media portrayals of mental illness linked to violence can be among the most stigmatising, it is important that these stories are covered safely and responsibly.

Guidelines have successfully improved the quality of suicide reporting in Australia since their introduction in 2002 and it is hoped the release of these new guidelines can support a reduction in stigmatising portrayals of severe mental illness in the context of violence.

Anna Ross, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Mindframe guidelines on media reporting of severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime

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