What are the key challenges faced by Mindframe when working with the media on reporting mental illness and suicide?
A key challenge has been to ensure media professionals and organisations are able understand Mindframe and use it in their everyday work. The Mindframe approach has been collaborative and aims to help build their understanding through four key priorities:
- Priority 1: Resource redevelopment
- Priority 2: Education and training
- Priority 3: Strategic engagement
- Priority 4: Evidence and evaluation
We’ve worked collaboratively with the media for more than 10 years, encouraging ownership (for example includingMindframein their industry codes and editorial guidelines), which has seen the Australian industry internationally seen as the best at covering such a complex and difficult issues. To support the collaborative approach,Mindframehas a media advisory group, with broad national membership (print, broadcast, online and some specific media such as Indigenous, LGBTI and Culturally and linguistically diverse) to provide regular input to our activities and developments.
Another challenge has been to ensure those that influence and work with the media, are also acrossMindframerecommendations, such as the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, and the police. With the best intention to highlight suicide prevention, from time to time, some have encouraged the media to cover stories that may in fact do more harm than good, especially particularly when focussing on a suicide death or suicide cluster. To support the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, we have specific resources and training. We also provide resources for journalism and public relations university programs, and the Australian film, television and theatre industry. We have a range of resources for those that want to work with the media or support those that want to tell their stories, here.
The convergence of traditional media with the online environment has been a new challenge for the sector. While evidence is still emerging, recommendations should also be applied to the online area, including social media. Given the instant nature and potential reach of online posts, implementing procedures to monitor and manage message boards for posts that may be harmful or from people in crisis is recommended. Promotion of public memorials, including online memorial pages, may inadvertently reinforce suicide as a desired outcome for people at risk of suicide in a community.