Mental Health in Journalism and Media

by michelle.bsparkx on February 5, 2017 - 6:41pm

           Global News article titled “How has media coverage of mental health issues evolved in recent years?” was written by Christina Stevens, one of their senior reporters and published in their Blogs section on January 16th 2017. The article summarizes and directs readers to listen to the “MindVine Podcast” Stevens participated in with the Ontario Shores staff. The summary notes that suicide was rarely mentioned in news in the past but is being mentioned more in recent years. Stevens informs the viewer that she herself has seen how much things have changed in her 20 years of being a journalist.

            I believe this article is written in the Blogs section to inform those who look at it to listen to the podcast and not a summary of what the event actually is. Christina Stevens is a senior reporter who works from the Global Toronto Newsroom and has also worked as a weekend anchor at Citytv. She has worked on site, where the events are happening as well which makes her news, as well as this article, that much more reliable. Global News strives to make a difference using various medias. They have stations across Canada and provide a list of their lead team members on their about page.

            As for the podcast itself, Stevens says that many journalists don’t know the subject they’re writing about as well as others might because they have a limited amount of time to learn as much as they can which isn’t enough time to make them a specialist on the subject. She also mentions that it is the media and journalists jobs to educate people on mental illnesses. She talks about how journalists often don’t have enough time to get people suffering from the mental illness that they would like to write about, to speak out about it which results in these types of articles not being as in depth as it could be if they had more time. Due to this Stevens suggests that people bring the stories to the journalists along with who to talk to and other important information to get the in depth article that many would like. Later on in the podcast it is mentioned that because 1 in 5 people suffer from a mental illness journalists are bound to encounter mental illnesses. Therefore, these things could be taught in journalism school to better inform the journalists which would in turn allow them to write about the issue properly and better inform the public. They also mention that ptsd could be taught in journalism school because many journalists go to places which might result in them suffering from ptsd themselves. One of their final points is that titles of news articles are often critical of mental illnesses and that the media should work towards ending using words such as ‘crazy’ and ‘bipolar’ to describe people in negative ways.




I completely agree with your article. I think that the media has definitely done a bad job at covering stories on not only people who suffer from mental illnesses, but also studies on mental illness. I also agree with the fact that the tone used to describe people with mental illnesses is often negative and badly portrays the topic.

On the point that you mentioned that the media has to educate people on these kinds of issues, I would also like to add that people are often unaware of ableism (which is the term used to describe discrimination against people who are handicapped, ill or suffer from mental health problems). Racism and sexism are somewhat well covered by the mainstream media, and especially by liberal news organizations, and news related to these topics usually spark a discussion on social media, but ableism seems to still not be considered by the media. I have definitely met a lot of people who saw no problem with using the word 'retarded' as an insult because "ableism doesn't exist", even though that word directly refers to people who are mentally challenged. I have also heard words such as 'autistic', 'dumb', 'hysterical', 'crazy', 'schizo', 'insane', etc. being thrown around, often negatively, which really breaks my hear whenever I hear anything of the sort because it shows just how insensitive people are on the topic of mental health. I am not personally mentally ill or physically handicapped, I can only imagine how disheartening for people who are already not taken seriously to see names for their conditions used as jokes or negative expressions.

I know it's been a while since this comment has been here but I just wanted to clarify that throughout what is written in my news summary I have only written about what I found in the news article and podcast, not about what I believe should be changed. While I do however agree with what is mentioned in the podcast I do not mention that in my news summary.

About the author

I am an avid creator, interested in writing, collages, drawings, typography, hand lettering, calligraphy, motion graphics and much more.