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Journalists launch their own guide to mental health reporting
|By PR Newswire
|April 22, 2014 12:06 PM EDT
LONDON, ON, April 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian journalists have created a
new guide to mental health reporting - the first to come from within
the news industry itself. It promotes more factual coverage; fairer,
less stigmatizing treatment of the 20% of Canadians experiencing mental
illness; and the airing of systemic issues in mental health care across
The new resource, available in English or French, comprises a pair of
'field guides' for quick reference and two associated websites for
elaboration and discussion. The guides will be made available without
charge to journalists, news organizations and journalism schools across
Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health will be launched at the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC Broadcast Centre
in Toronto on the evening of Thursday, April 24. The French version, En-Tête : reportage et santé mentale, will be introduced at an event in Montreal in May.
Among well-known journalists who have contributed to the project are
André Picard of the Globe and Mail, Linden MacIntyre of CBC, Katia
Gagnon of La Presse, and Radio-Canada's Pierre Craig, who is president
of the Federation of Professional Journalists of Quebec.
The project has been led by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence
and Trauma, an educational charity promoting the physical and emotional
safety of journalists, with CBC News as media partner. It was made
possible, in part, by funding from the Mental Health Commission of
Canada. The Forum has editorial control.
"It's time to toss out unscientific myths and taboos," said Forum
president Cliff Lonsdale. "The issues are too important, too urgent, to
go on being masked by ignorance or unease. The tide has already begun
to turn in favour of more accurate, more factual, more probing
reporting about people with mental disorders. Next comes the flood, and
it should critically alter the way we all look at mental illness - one
more in a long line of social issues journalism has helped change for
Louise Bradley, Mental Health Commission of Canada President and CEO,
said, "We know that journalists play a pivotal role in influencing how
Canadians think about and how other journalists report on mental health
issues. Mindset is a field guide for journalists by journalists - people who understand
the news business from the inside. Our role at the MHCC was one of
facilitation. Our faith that journalists would do a good job paid off.
We're proud to have helped make this good and necessary work possible."
The guide shows that people with mental disorders are hardly ever
violent or a threat to others, and that recovery is generally the
norm. Most Canadians will find themselves at different places along
the continuum from mental illness to mental health in their lifetimes.
"It reinforces the idea that there's no distinction between 'them' and
'us'," said Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of
CBC News. "We're all in this together. That needs to be reflected in
the way we cover news stories involving mental illness - especially
dramatic ones that make headlines and have such a powerful impact on
people's perceptions and prejudices. CBC News is supporting the
project because it makes for better journalism, and that's what we're
Intended for general-assignment reporters and editors and for journalism
students, the guide gives practical information on a variety of aspects
of mental illness, including legal processes, descriptions of specific
disorders, varying approaches to treatment, medical facts surrounding
addiction and updated advice on covering suicides. It aims to reduce
stigmatizing collateral damage that can be inflicted when journalists
without detailed knowledge in the mental health area have to file to
The Toronto launch of Mindset will feature a panel discussion between André Picard, neuropsychiatrist
Dr. Anthony Feinstein and Karen Liberman, a mental health advisor with
personal experience of depression. The discussion will be moderated by
David Common, CBC News correspondent and host of World Report.
SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma
Image with caption: "Field guide is intended for general-assignment reporters (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140422_C4560_PHOTO_EN_39502.jpg
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