Research shows the media is a significant source of information for many people about mental illness and suicide, with media outlets playing an important role in helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage help-seeking behaviour.
For organisations in the mental health sector looking to work with the media to raise awareness about mental health issues and services, the SANE Media Centre can provide support and guidance (see below).
The SANE Media Centre is supported by the Australian Government as part of the Mindframe National Media Initiative.
SANE Media Centre
For advice and support about working with the media, contact the Media Centre.
The SANE Media Centre provides advice on:
- Understanding the media’s needs
- What to expect when working with the media
- Handling media requests quickly and effectively
- Writing media releases and pitching story ideas to journalists
- Supporting and protecting consumers and carers who make themselves available for interview
- Managing community concerns regarding appropriate portrayal of mental illness and suicide in the media via the SANE StigmaWatch program.
Mindframe National Media initiative
The Australian Government's Mindframe National Media Initiative provides resources to help the mental health and suicide prevention sectors to communicate effectively with the media about suicide, mental health and mental illness. The Mindframe website and accompanying guide Suicide and Mental Illness in the Media: A Mindframe resource for the mental health sector was developed with the assistance of media professionals, suicide prevention and mental health experts and consumer organisations.
The SANE Media Centre has developed a range of factsheets to help the mental health sector work with media. Each factsheet covers a different aspect of working with the media such as interview techniques, writing media releases and supporting spokespeople.
The mental health sector can play an important role in stigma reduction by encouraging anyone with an interest in media reporting and portrayals of mental illness and suicide to join the StigmaWatch program. The SANE StigmaWatch program voices community feedback about representations within the media that stigmatise mental illness or inadvertently promote self-harm and suicide. The program also provides positive feedback to the media about accurate and responsible portrayals of mental illness and suicide.