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Poster presentation: IASP Asia Pacific Congress, Tahiti June 2014


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Poster presentation titled: Implementing a national program to influence media reporting of suicide: The Australian experience. Poster delivered at the International Association for Suicide Prevention Congress in Tahiti in June 2014. Poster presented by Jaelea Skehan.

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Poster presentation: IASP Asia Pacific Congress, Tahiti June 2014

  1. 1. Implementing a national program to influence media reporting of suicide: The Australian Experience Authors: Jaelea Skehan – Director, Hunter Institute of Mental Health Marc Bryant – Program Manager, Hunter Institute of Mental Health Websites: or @MindframeMedia or @HInstMH
  2. 2. The Hunter Institute of Mental Health is a leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians. For more than 20 years we have been delivering successful, evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention programs from our base in Newcastle, NSW. These have made a considerable contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians. The Mindframe National Media Initiative is delivered by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and funded under the National Suicide Prevention Program. It aims to influence media representation of issues related to mental illness and suicide, encouraging responsible, accurate and sensitive portrayals. Mindframe works with news and entertainment media, the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, universities, police and courts. @HInstMH @MindframeMedia
  3. 3. About Mindframe Mindframe is funded under the National Suicide Prevention Program in Australia and has been managed by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2002. The Initiative is guided by national advisory groups, including the Mindframe Media Advisory Group; Mindframe Communication Managers Group (mental health & suicide prevention); Mindframe Police Advisory Group; and the Mindframe for Universities Advisory Group (journalism & public relations). Mindframe is a comprehensive and multi- faceted strategy to disseminate evidence based information to a range of sectors about media coverage of suicide and mental illness.
  4. 4. Research into practice Research evidence related to media reporting and portrayal of suicide Development of Australian guidelines Evidence based strategies to enhance program dissemination Dissemination of Australian program (integration into policies, professional development, partnerships, leadership) Consultation and sector engagement to identify qualities about journalists and the media environment in Australia In Australia, the evidence for media reporting of suicide has been integrated with evidence for program dissemination. Sector consultations and engagement has been key, with resource development only one component of the strategy.
  5. 5. The Mindframe model THE APPROACH: 1. Evidence-based and sector appropriate print and online resources; 2. Professional development and sector engagement; 3. Changes to policies, procedures and codes of practice; 4. National Leadership. AIM: To improve media reporting and portrayal of suicide and mental illness. SECTORS: (1) Media professionals and media organisations; (2) journalism and public relations educators and students; (3) the mental health and suicide prevention sectors; (4) police and courts; (5) Stage and screen.
  6. 6. Capacity building model 1. Support organisational development across target groups through embedding Mindframe information and core principles into curriculum, policies, codes and organisational plans. – For example, 100% of Australian media bodies now have consistent codes of practice for reporting suicide. 2. Contribute to workforce development across target groups through relevant direct engagement with sectors. – For example, 500+ media training sessions have been conducted, meeting face-to- face with over 200 journalists per year. 3. Continue to Allocate resources across through the update, maintenance and dissemination of print and online resources. – For example, in 2014 new resource books and an APP were launched for media. Additional sections on journalists self care, reporting suicide bereavement and online reporting were added based on consultations.
  7. 7. Capacity building model (cont.) 4. Support partnerships between target groups and the project team and build partnerships across target groups. – For example, the Mindframe team has an MOU with two national postvention services to coordinate media responses to possible clusters. 5. Continue to provide and support leadership for this kind of work through maintenance of reference and advisory groups, strategic partnerships with organisations and supporting champions across sectors. – For example, there are four active national advisory groups across target groups, including an advisory group of over 30 journalists and senior media representatives. 6. Monitor and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the project strategies. – For example, the program is supporting a PhD candidate and other evaluation activities to build knowledge about dissemination of media guidelines.
  8. 8. Summary of outcomes • One of only two countries where the introduction of guidelines or strategies have resulted in a change in reporting (Media Monitoring study, Pirkis et al. 2009): – Both suicide and mental illness items increased in volume, with approximately a two-and-a-half-fold increase. – In terms of quality, suicide items increased from 57% to 75%, and mental illness items increased from 75% to 80%. • The only country that has shown evidence that media are aware of the resources and use the resources in their practice (Skehan et al., 2006; Pirkis et al., 2006). • Uptake in journalism curricula and improvements in student knowledge and skills (Skehan et al., 2009).
  9. 9. Summary of engagement Online resources are important. In the past month: 15,000 People visited the website 22,700 pages were viewed 69% of visitors were accessing media pages But face-to-face strategies increase uptake: Mindframe delivers approx. 50 media briefings per year. Evaluations consistently show face-to-face engagement improves uptake over all other strategies (mail-out, online).
  10. 10. Next steps? The program is working to refine resources and approaches in line with program evaluations and sector engagement. Recent developments include: • Development of a proactive communication strategy for media to manage high profile events or possible clusters – including a social media account (@MindframeMedia); • Launch of revised media resource books, updated website and launch of APP for media professionals; • Development of targeted resources for priority populations – Indigenous Australians, CALD communities and LGBTI people. • Progress nationally to consult with media and the suicide prevention sector to develop a social media strategy for Australia; • Partnerships across sectors to manage emerging areas.