The media has an important role to play in shaping and reinforcing social attitudes towards, and perceptions of, suicide and mental illness. For more than 10 years, the media has been actively working with the Mindframe National Media Initiative (Mindframe) to promote reporting and portrayals that reduce potential harm and enhance community understanding about suicide and mental illness.
The evidence* shows reporting of both issues has increased and improved in quality since the introduction of Mindframe initiatives.
Rather than being rules per se, Reporting suicide and mental illness: A Mindframe resource for media professionals** is a practical resource that builds on existing codes of practice and editorial policies to ensure reporting is based on research evidence and industry standards.
This print resource is supported by more detailed information online - www.mindframe-media.info - including quick and comprehensive guides on reporting suicide and mental illness, contact details for organisations which can provide comment for stories, up-to-date facts and statistics, as well as detailed evidence about the impact of media reporting.
We would like to acknowledge those that have assisted with the resource development, including media professionals and peak media bodies, suicide prevention and mental health organisations, consumer networks, and Mindframe’s advisory groups.
As representatives of the Mindframe Media Advisory Group, we recommend this resource to others in the media.
* References are detailed on the Mindframe website.
** The first edition of Australian media resource, ‘Achieving the Balance’, was produced in 1999. The first Reporting suicide and mental illness media book was produced in 2002 and revised in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009.