The Response Ability Project, funded under the Mindframe National Media Initiative in Australia, seeks to influence tertiary curricula so that graduates in journalism will be aware of and able to respond appropriately to issues relating to suicide and mental illness. Whilst the initial multi-media resources developed to support journalism educators have been received well, engagement with media organisations and individual journalists under other Mindframe projects have revealed further complexities associated with the reporting of suicide and mental illness. In particular, journalists have indicated that the issues become more problematic when they are required to report suicides in other contexts, such as murder-suicides, deaths in custody and voluntary euthanasia. Similarly, the reporting of mental illness was more complex in the context of crime and in the reporting of the mental health care system. This paper will highlight some of these new complexities of reporting and discuss how the Response Ability project has responded through the development of supplementary resources to allow educators to raise such issues with students.
Recommended CitationSkehan, J.; Burns, L. S.; and Hazell, T., Keeping pace with current issues in reporting suicide and mental illness, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 4(2), 2007.