Last week, our colleagues at SANE StigmaWatch and Mindframe National Media Initiative sent out a joint statement to all Australian media, regarding responsible reporting and the impact of linking mental ill-health with extremist behaviour.
Reducing stigma and discrimination is a priority area of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and a longstanding priority for the National Mental Health Commission.
When it comes to enabling people to achieve the best possible mental wellbeing to live contributing lives, we must all carefully consider language that is used in relation to mental illness; both in the media and in every day conversation.
As Acting Director of Everymind, Marc Bryant reinforces in the release, “Many violent people have no history of mental illness and most people with a mental illness have no history of violence.”
“Certain language and stereotypes can lead to negative community attitudes and stigmatise people living with a mental illness, as well as present inaccuracies about mental illness or mental health care,” said Mr. Bryant.
National Mental Health Commission Chair Ms. Lucy Brogden, urges every Australian to familiarise themselves with the safe language suggested by SANE StigmaWatch and Mindframe as well as the support information shared:
“Evidence tells us that when it comes to reducing stigma and discrimination for people living with mental illness, the words we use matters. Responsible reporting has been shown to help reduce stigma while irresponsible reporting can do harm”
“As well as holding the media to account, we can all contribute to our collective mental wellbeing by carefully considering the language each and every day.”
National Mental Health Commission