Reporting on Mental Health and Young People

You have the power to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health but to do this, fair, accurate and sensitive journalism is essential. See our guide for how to tips and further information.

Reporting on mental health and young people

There are a number of guides you can use when reporting on mental health:

The use of inappropriate images when reporting can be deeply stigmatizing and damaging. At best, it reinforces negative stereotypes around mental health. At worst, it can have an adverse effect on a young person and result in them harming themselves. Time to Change has developed a set of images and advice on how to use imagery.

How to interview young people

General tips

  • Explain how you are going to use the interview and give as much information as possible about when it will be published or broadcast.
  • Be mindful that there might be topics that the young person does not want to talk about. If you have been told about this already then respect that or if you are told about it in the interview then simply move onto something else.
  • Do not ask about specific ways a young person might have harmed themselves. Not only can this be distressing for the young person being interviewed, reporting on methods can be triggering for other young people.
  • Do not ask for pictures or signs of self-harm. This can also be distressing and trigger other young people.
  • Offer to stop the interview if the young person gets upset but understand that they might want to continue despite getting upset.

After the interview

  • Wherever possible, offer to make the interview anonymous.
  • Please think very carefully before you choose not to feature a young person that you have interviewed. This can be very hurtful especially if they have put a lot into the interview.
  • If possible, consider letting the young person see the copy or interview before publication and offer to make any changes that they might suggest.
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