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Newspaper coverage of mental illness in the UK, 1992-2008

Author(s): Goulden Robert | Corker Elizabeth | Evans-Lacko Sara | Rose Diana | Thornicroft Graham | Henderson Claire

Journal: BMC Public Health
ISSN 1471-2458

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 796;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Recent years have seen a number of attempts to reduce the stigma related to mental illness; the media can play a significant role in perpetuating this stigma. This paper analyses trends in newspaper coverage of mental illness in the UK between 1992-2008 across a range of psychiatric diagnoses. Methods A content analysis was performed on a sample of articles (n = 1361) about mental illness in a range of UK newspapers in 1992, 2000, and 2008. Results There was a significant proportional reduction in negative articles about mental illness between 1992 and 2008, and a significant increase in articles explaining psychiatric disorders. Coverage improved for depression but remained largely negative for schizophrenia. Conclusions Newspaper coverage of mental illness became less stigmatising overall in the 1990s and 2000s, but this was not true for all diagnoses.
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