Sane launches campaign to tackle media stigma over reporting of mental illness

sane papA paparazzi photographer harasses a member of the public in a new campaign created by mental health organisation Sane to promote responsible reporting by the media.

The campaign is asking journalists to consider how they report mental health issues, and promoting its Sane Media Centre website which offers guidelines on appropriate ways to report mental health issues and suicide.

ABC journalist Lexi Metherell appears in the media film. She said: “Journalists have a  powerful position because they can influence how people think.. “They can either perpetuate stigma or reduce it”.

Sane is also urging the public to get in touch with its Stigma Watch service over irresponsible media reporting.

A further video focuses on the impact of how employers react to mental illness. Among those featured are James Freemantle from media training company Redgum Communications, who reveals the unhelpful attitude when he shared his issues with depression with a previous boss. He said: “I was working in television which can be a very cynical environment, but I was devastated that the illness that had thrown up so many challenges was mocked and dismissed.”

The films were created by Who & Why Media.

The Australian Press Council also offers its own guidance around the reporting of issues relating to suicide.


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