REF NO.: 63
|SUBJECT:||Memorial Presents forum to explore media coverage of mental health issues|
|DATE:||Nov. 2, 2011|
Following the panel presentation, the audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A session.
George Skinner, executive director of the Canadian Association of Mental Health, Newfoundland and Labrador, is concerned by the impact that misinformed or prejudiced reporting can have on the willingness of an individual with mental illness to seek help.
The fact is that stigma really impairs peoples ability to come forward for treatment. I work with people everyday who can disclose how they feel or what they think because of the societal stigma. To me, its a major barrier.
Its a fear that Dr. Golfman understands. While she doesnt believe that media stories are purposely crafted to hurt, she does agree that the media play a role in strengthening persistent negative myths about mental illness.
Unintentionally, perhaps, media coverage of criminal or violent acts helps reinforce myths about mental illness, she said. News stories, in particular, tend to put the spotlight on mental illness, sensationalizing without context or even purpose. You just have to think about the history of horror films to realize how mental illness might be considered in the popular imagination.
The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception. Those unable to attend in person are encouraged to view the live webcast at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.
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For more information, please contact Rebecca Cohoe, communications co-ordinator, the Harris Centre, Memorial University, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (709) 864-3739.