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Media, Mental Health and Discrimination: A Frame of Reference for Understanding Reporting Trends

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Mental health-related stigma and discrimination are a significant public health issue. Media reports can both reflect and influence public attitudes. However, media reports can be subtle and contradictory and many previous studies do not adequately capture trends in the range and balance of reporting of different mental health problems. This paper develops a frame of reference that identifies a wider range of themes that can be used to capture a more representative picture of reporting than pre-imposing content analysis categories. This frame of reference was applied to assess trends in schizophrenia reports in the broadsheet media in Scotland, between 2001 and 2005, to coincide with See Me, a national anti-stigma media campaign. A number of key findings emerged, including a wider than expected range of both positive and negative images. This study suggests that a national media campaign can succeed in breaking the perceived link between schizophrenia and dangerousness. However, campaigns should give more emphasis to the range of subtle, negative reporting. They should promote, in conjunction with media volunteers, a wider range of positive stories about recovery, talent and social contribution.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion co-ordinates the dissemination of new research outcomes to all those involved in policy making and the implementation of mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention policies. It is essential reading for those with a personal or professional interest in this work.

    Peer reviewed by an expert international board, the Journal is a comprehensive information system which publishes material of distinction submitted by clinical/medical staff, health services researchers, managers, health promoters, educationalists, sociologists, health economists and practitioners from all branches of health and social care.

    The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion is designed to increase awareness, foster understanding and promote collaboration between the different disciplines engaged in this diverse activity of study.

    The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion is published four times a year and is an official research journal of The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

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