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Introduction


Welcome to the Mindframe for police website, a valuable resource to support police to communicate effectively with the media about suicide and mental illness in order to ensure that media portrayals of these issues are sensitive and responsible.

The resource was developed with the assistance of police and court professionals, media professionals, academics, suicide and mental health experts and consumer organisations, with aims to:

  • Reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental illness;
  • Inform appropriate reporting of suicide and mental illness; and
  • Minimise harm and copycat behaviour.

 

Background


Australian research has indicated that police and emergency services are a major source of information for most news organisations. Information is accessible, timely, and viewed by the media as having high human or dramatic interest.

The very nature of policing means officers are confronted by both suicide and mental illness on a regular basis. Incidents involving suicide or mental illness will often be seen as newsworthy and police may be the first to field media enquiries. For this reason, police services have an important role to play in supporting appropriate media coverage of suicide, mental illness and mental health.

 

About the Project


This website and accompanying print resource 'Mental Illness and Suicide in the Media: A Mindframe Resource for Police', provides practical advice for police to support their interactions with the media. It suggests ways of talking about suicide and mental illness that are consistent with best practice guidelines for reporting. These resources have been developed as part of Mindframe for police and courts, which belongs to a suite of projects on suicide, mental illness and the media developed as part of the Mindframe National Media Initiative.

The resources have been developed following consultations with police services in each state and territory. Mindframe for police and courts is supported by the peak media bodies and suicide prevention and mental health organisations. The project aims to build the capacity of police organisations to promote sensitive and appropriate reporting by ensuring that they have:

  • Appropriate, sector-consistent guidance on providing information on suicide, mental health and mental illness to media professionals;
  • An understanding of the potential impact of media reporting of mental illness and suicide, based on research evidence;
  • Strategies to respond to positive and negative reporting of suicide, mental health and mental illness; and
  • Access to relevant reference material including:

- Key issues to consider when talking to the media about suicide or mental illness;

- Facts and statistics about mental illness and suicide;

- Contact details for sources of research and statistics; and

- Contact details for helplines and services.

 

Obtaining Resources


Police IconDownloadable copies of the Mental Illness and Suicide in the Media resource booklet, as well as accompanying quick reference card, can be obtained from the Downloads page.

For more information about Mindframe for Police and Courts, or to order hard copies of the resources, please contact the project team.