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Working with
the Media

'The media portrays people as attention seeking and makes you seem as if you are from an entirely different world'.
HUG Member

The media plays a crucial role in informing our attitudes towards mental illness:

  • The Mind report 'Counting the Cost', identified that more than 60% of people with a mental illness blame media articles for the discrimination they face.

  • A report by the Health Education Authority in 1999 stated that 40% of tabloid articles about mental health used pejorative words such as "nutter" and "loony" and that almost 50% of press coverage of mental health was about crime, violence or self-harm.

For most of the public the mass media remains the most common source of information about mental health issues and plays a crucial role in forming our attitudes towards mental illness.


Many users of mental health services have identified unfair, unbalanced and negative UK media coverage as one of the key factors in the discrimination they experience. HUG members consistently cite the media as a contributing factor in fuelling public fears through their sensationalist approach to reporting on mental health stories and concentration on the tragedies which do, occasionally and tragically, occur.

Nevertheless, HUG's experience of the Highland and Scottish media has been very positive and we have received great support from individual journalists who have written with tact and sensitivity about our work. Our on-going work in this area aims to build upon this solid foundation and encourage responsible reporting through raised awareness of mental health issues amongst media professionals.



Highland Users Group
Tel: (01463 723560) — Email:





Working with the Media