The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma has unveiled an excellent guide on reporting on mental health that offers great advice to all working journalists.

By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma has unveiled an excellent guide on reporting on mental health that offers great advice to all working journalists.

The guide is the result of its work with the CBC as a media partner, with help from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It is the most thorough and well-explained advice for journalists that I have seen.

The guide offers advice on how to cover suicide, how to do interviews, how to deal with the legal issues and how journalists who can face very traumatic coverage at home and abroad can take care of themselves as well.

It talks about the stigma of mental illness: “Stigma has no respect for facts. That, if nothing else, makes it our business as journalists to try to set the record straight.”

The report notes that since 20 per cent of Canadians have a mental illness at any one time, likely so too do journalists, and most continue working without talking about it. Some do discuss this publicly and their personal stories are included in this multimedia report.

The guidelines also include an introduction by Globe and Mail health columnist André Picard, who has been a leader at and in The Globe and in the media in working toward both more open and more sensitive coverage of mental health issues.

To continue reading this column, please go to theglobeandmail.com where it was originally published.


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.