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Stigma Files 2019

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Issue: StigmaWatch was made aware of a story published in a regional newspaper where the name and photograph of an indigenous woman was used without the consent of her family.

In line with the Mindframe guidelines, specific cultural considerations must be applied to stories surrounding suicide and mental illness within the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community. 

Naming or depicting an image of a person who has died can cause great distress in some communities.  Journalists are advised to seek advice before using the name or image of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is deceased.

Result: As the story had already gone to print, StigmaWatch provided feedback and recommendations to the media outlet on the specific cultural considerations that need to be followed should they cover future stories on this topic.

Why it mattered: Suicide prevention within indigenous communities is a regular focus in the Australian media so it is important that journalists are aware of, and follow the Mindframe guidelines, particularly the specific cultural considerations.

Media must also be aware that terms used for suicide and mental illness may not exist or translate easily when interviewing people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.