Media Guidance

How to report on mental health

Media reporting can have a huge influence on public attitudes towards mental health.

When dealing with a topic already entrenched with stigma and misunderstanding, fair and accurate journalism is essential.

Time to Change, an anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, produces guidance on how to cover mental health sensitively and responsibly.

There are two guides:
•reporting mental health in the news www.time-to-change.org.uk/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/TtC%20Media%20Leaflet%20NEWS%20(2).pdf

•reporting on on mental health-related storylines in soaps and dramas www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/responsible-reporting/soaps-dramas

How to report on suicide

The way that suicide is reported can have a direct impact on imitative behaviours so it’s essential to take care when reporting individual cases. The Samaritans produce a media guide on reporting suicide. www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/media-guidelines/

Images in the media

Stigmatisinsg pictures can be just as damaging as words when used to depict stories about mental health. Sometimes positive content can be overlooked because of the supporting picture. The Time to Change campaign, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, has developed a selection of images which can be used as alternatives to the ‘headclutcher’ shot that is often used www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/responsible-reporting/using-images/get-picture-campaign