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Mindframe announces new guidelines for reporting on severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime

Wednesday 26, Aug 2020

Introducing the Mindframe Guidelines for reporting of severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime

What are the new guidelines focussed on?

This new resource empowers safe and responsible reporting on the issues of mental illness in the context of violence and crime. Informed by research and expertise from a panel of media and mental health professionals as well as consumer advocates, the guidelines seek to set a standard on best-practice reporting on the issues of mental illness in the context of violence and crime, which minimise stigma and promote help-seeking behaviour.

Why are these guidelines needed?

The media is a key source of information about mental ill-health for the public, and research shows media coverage can influence public attitudes and perceptions of mental ill-health. However, portrayals of mental illness, particularly severe, medically diagnosed mental illnesses in the context of violence and crime are unfortunately often reported far more frequently than the actual rate at which incidents occur.

These portrayals can give a false impression that mental illness causes violent behaviour, which reinforces myths, consequently influencing stigmatising attitudes and public fear in the community. It is important to consider that complex mental illness is rarely the cause of violence and according to research 96% of violent crimes are committed by people who not have a mental illness.

There is a suite of evidence-informed Mindframe guidelines available to support safe communication including:

  • Mindframe guidelines for reporting of severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime 
  • Reporting suicide and mental ill-health: A Mindframe resource for media professionals - Mental illness and suicide: A Mindframe resource for stage and screen 
  • Mindframe for Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD).

Each resource is informed by research and expertise from a panel of media and mental health professionals as well as consumer advocates; and seeks to empower the topics of suicide, mental ill-health, alcohol and other drugs, and mental illness in the context of violence and crime to be communicated safely and responsibly.

 

How do the guidelines support safe communication? 

The guidelines provide insight to support media to consider the following: 

  • The impact of news reports on mental illness and crime
  • How to report on the issues accurately - How to incorporate and provide relevant context
  • The use of supportive and person-centred language
  • The provision of help-seeking information - Selection and framing of supportive video and images - Steps for responsible discussion of the issue via social media.

More information:

For more information on the importance of the launch of the new resource, please read the article in The Conversation (https://bit.ly/3leEiHp), which outlines evidence behind the guidelines. 

Read latest news item: https://bit.ly/32lpGxo View and download the guidelines via the 

Mindframe website: https://bit.ly/3lisFPB

 


Contacts

Jessica Weiland

Senior Communications Officer, Everymind

Jessica.Weiland@health.nsw.gov.au

 

Dr. Elizabeth Paton

Acting Project Lead, Mindframe

Elizabeth.Paton@health.nsw.gov.au