SANE StigmaWatch reflects and acts on community concern about media stories, advertisements and other representations, which stigmatise people with mental illness or inadvertently promote self-harm or suicide.
An important positive focus of StigmaWatch is to provide feedback to the media following accurate and responsible portrayals of mental illness and suicide.
There are hundreds of StigmaWatchers throughout Australia – people with a mental illness, family, friends, health workers and others who care about how mental illness and suicide are represented in the Australian media – who forward their reports to StigmaWatch for follow-up.
Established in 1999, SANE Australia's StigmaWatch program pioneered stigma-reduction through tackling media representation of mental illness and suicide.
The SANE StigmaWatch Report is an in-depth review of the program's history and evolution. The report shows how media reporting has improved, while highlighting the areas that require further attention or campaigns.
Importantly, StigmaWatch does not aim to 'censor' media representation of mental illness and suicide. Rather, StigmaWatch encourages more accurate and responsible reporting and portrayal.
SANE StigmaWatch is a program of the SANE Media Centre, which is supported by the Australian Government’s Mindframe National Media Initiative. StigmaWatch works in partnership with other Mindframe projects coordinated by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.
Reports submitted by the public are evaluated against the Mindframe National Media Initiative’s Reporting Suicide and Mental Illness guidelines and the StigmaWatch Criteria.
Last modified: March 2014
‘I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a decade ago and in my search to understand my new illness, the media offered me a skewed vantage point where it appeared schizophrenia was simply a licence for bad behaviour. Now, on the inside looking out, I recognise what an inaccurate portrayal this is, the exception rather than the rule.'
Read Kylie's Snapshots story.
‘As a carer, I get hurt when I see remarks that label people who are mentally ill with names such as "fruitcake", "nutter" or "psycho." Don't they realise that this is my son they are talking about? As if it's not bad enough for someone to have a mental illness, to be punished for it by being the victim of stigmatising comments is like kicking a man when he's down.'