Information for the media
We work with local and regional media to promote the achievements of people who use our services and our staff, increase understanding around the services that we offer and offer advice on how local people can look after their own wellbeing.
What do we do to help journalists?
- We provide the media with stories and images that promote our services in a positive light
- We aim to be co-operative, open, honest and accessible at all times to any member of the media
- We aim to ensure that all our communications with the media is jargon free, clear, consistent and timely
- We work to develop understanding and maintain public confidence in services by promoting our work and by responding to criticism
- Although we will never put pressure on people who use our services or their carers to participate in media activity we will support people to get their views and experiences across to the media.
Reporting difficult issues
We provide many specialist services to local people – including services for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or those who have issues with substance misuse. Stigma blights the lives of many people and we believe the media has a vital role to play in helping reduce this stigma and improving understanding. Read about our anti-stigma campaign.
How can journalists report on mental health sensitively?
- Think twice about the language you use, as certain terms can offend people or reinforce stereotypes. Obviously no responsible journalist would describe someone with a mental health problem as ‘loony’ or ‘bonkers’ but there are less obvious terms that can be offensive, for example someone with a mental health problem is ‘discharged’ from hospital rather than ‘released’. Also remember that suicide is not illegal, so somebody ‘dies by suicide’ rather than ‘commits suicide’.
- Be sensitive when reporting suicide. Evidence shows that reporting too much detail on suicide can lead to copycat suicides. For example, you should take care when specifying the type or number of tablets taken in an overdose. Clause 5ii of the Press Complaints Commission’s Code of Practice states: When reporting suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used. For more information on the reporting of suicide read the Samaritans guidelines on the reporting of suicide [external site].
- Bear in mind when reporting on severe mental illness that this is a public health issue rather than a public safety one. People with mental health problems are far more likely to be a risk to themselves than anyone else
- Consider publicising help lines when reporting on a mental health issue or suicide (for example, The Samaritans on 08457 909090)
- If in doubt contact us. We understand that you are not experts on mental health and that these are very complex issues. We are always happy to help and advise.
Helpful websites and resources for journalists
Tagged under: Journalists
Page last updated on July 16th, 2012