Top 10 Guidelines for Media re: Depression

  1. Always include details of further sources of information and support when reporting on depression.
  2. Use the correct and accepted terminology and avoid language that might exacerbate or create public fear, myth, bigotry and distress
  3. Avoid making a link between depression and violence
  4. Encourage positive stories about people living with and managing depression, as well as stories of recovery
  5. Never encourage people to change or stop their medication without medical supervision (This can have serious medical implications and cause huge distress and worry to people on medication and their families. Always back up any findings with a quote from a mental health expert.)
  6. Is it relevant to the story to mention a mental health condition (Not everyone wishes to have their mental illness discussed in public so it’s important to consider the implications on the person and their families before reporting on their mental illness.)
  7. Include responsible and appropriate comments from a mental healthcare professional, an individual living with depression, or an organisation specialising in related issue. (This will ensure that reporting is accurate and balanced.)
  8. Could a case study of someone living with a similar condition help to explain and give context to the story (Getting an interview from someone who has recovered from their illness or who is in a positive and healthy emotional state can give real context and insight to a story.)
  9. Expose the common myths and balance these with the facts (Mental illness is very complex and it is essential to dispel any myths surrounding them.)
  10. Consider any images used and the headline, and question if they are likely to cause offence, either individually or collectively (Negative images can add to the misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental health issues and can be triggering to vulnerable people.)