Quick Tips to Improve Mental Health Reporting
Balancing News Coverage
- News stories about the latest scientific advances in the prevention and treatment of mental illnesses or feature stories of people in recovery tell important facts about mental illness that can help offset the tragic, but atypical, instances where a person with mental illness commits a violent act.
- Atypical instances of violence also create opportunities to write in-depth stories on topics such as: the side effects of anti-psychotic medications, racial/ ethnic disparities in access to mental health services, the varied methods of treatment available to people living with mental illnesses, on why the mental health systems sometimes break down, and factors such as the impact of stigma and discrimination that deter individuals from seeking treatment.
- Care should be exercised in all news stories to avoid creating the impression that mental illness results in hopeless prospects for individuals experiencing symptoms. Mental illness is treatable, recovery happens and prevention is often effective.