Asia Pacific Media Educator


This article takes as its point of departure increasing resistance to the biomedical model of mental illness and psychiatry’s claims to knowledge, which underpin the main tenets of mental illness and suicide resource kits and guidelines for protecting the ‘vulnerable’. Newly emerging work within ‘postpsychiatry’ and the activism of the psychiatric consumer/survivor/ex‑patient movement provides the framework for our analysis. These perspectives read psychiatry ‘against the grain’ and ‘talk back’. In the realm of media studies, taking heed of these perspectives may involve moving away from the assumption that people diagnosed with a mental illness are the passive and vulnerable recipients of ‘negative’ media coverage and, instead, recognising them as active audience members, media participants and critics. The article identifies examples from the Australian media that show some of the ways in which people are talking back and drawing attention to discursive struggles in the mental health field.