Media professionals have an important role to play in reducing community use of outdated language relating to mental illness.
Research shows the repeated publishing of outdated or out of context terms relating to mental illness may increase stigma for those with lived experience, trivialise the issue or discourage people from seeking help when they need it.
Everymind Business Manager, Tina Fox says the media is a primary source of information about mental health and illness for many within the broader community.
“People with a public platform, including journalists, need to consider the language they use and how this may influence community understanding, attitudes and actions.”
Mindframe partner, SANE Australia, delivers the StigmaWatch program which monitors and respond to reports of inaccurate or inappropriate stigmatising media portrayal of mental ill-health and suicide.
SANE Australia CEO, Rachel Green, says stigma prevents people accessing and receiving the support they deserve.
“We are calling on public figures and journalists alike to learn more about stigmatising language – and the harmful impacts that its presence in media coverage and everyday conversations can have on others.”
Australian media are encouraged to remove or paraphrase quotes that use outdated language and to refer to the Mindframe guidelines for alternative phrasing.
View the Mindframe guidelines here and see preferred language examples below.
To report a story you think may breach the guidelines, please visit SANE StigmaWatch.