The media is a valuable source of information, commentary and entertainment for all Australians.
Journalists are trained to investigate and report on issues of public interest in a fair and accurate manner. The majority of reports regarding mental illness and suicide are responsible, however occasionally the media stigmatise mental illness or sensationalise these sensitive issues.
Research by SANE Australia shows stigma is a major cause of distress to people diagnosed with mental illness, their families and friends - stigma can create as much pain and stress as the illness itself and can discourage people from seeking help.
If you find a report that stigmatises mental illness it is important to take action and inform SANE StigmaWatch so we can contact the organisation and the journalist.
Lodging a StigmaWatch or Good News Report
You can lodge an online StigmaWatch or Good News report by clicking here.
There are three important steps to reporting stigma in the media:
- Get the facts right – this includes, date, outlet and specific stigmatising language
- Provide a copy of the story or report to SANE StigmaWatch
- And if possible, write your own letter of complaint or praise to the outlet
If you are making a report, or contacting the media outlet, it is important to ensure you provide accurate information. This includes the date, time, outlet, location and, if possible, a copy of the report. If the report can’t be verified action is unlikely to be taken.
The Contacting the media section includes instructions and examples to ensure your message is suitable and informs the right media representatives.