Quick Tips to Improve Mental Health Reporting

Other Tips for Improving Accuracy When Reporting on Mental Illness

  • Symptoms.  Double-check specific symptoms and diagnoses.  Be especially careful to avoid attributing behaviors to mental illnesses that are common to many people.  Sadness, anger and exuberance are normal human emotions.  Most of us experience periods when we want to be alone and don’t want to socialize.  People who experience mental illness have normal emotions that should not be misinterpreted.  For a description of common symptoms of mental illness see. http://www.mentalhealthreporting.org.
  • Cause.  Avoid descriptions of mental illness as having a single cause.  Most mental illnesses have multiple causes.  For example, mental illnesses that are believed to have a genetic or biologic links (such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) often develop within the context of disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions, trauma or drug use.  Belief that illness arises from a single cause has been shown to contribute to prejudice and discrimination for both individuals and their families