Barriers and Solutions to the Coverage of Mental Health and Well-being Stories in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Heather Stewart, Judith Griffiths, Pauline Mulligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Suicide is having a devastating impact on remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities in Australia. In 2002, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health first distributed a set of resources on the reporting of mental illness and suicide to Australian journalists. Funded under the Mindframe National Media Initiative, this study investigates why Australian journalists decide to report or avoid the coverage of issues related to the social and emotional well-being of ATSI Australians and what barriers journalists face, particularly those of ATSI descent, in generating coverage of these sensitive issues. Participants raised serious concerns about the social and cultural responsibilities of covering issues related to mental health, mental illness and suicide in an informed way. They further highlighted the need for specific training of journalists and the need to create new resources to help journalists generate informed coverage of ATSI mental health issues. This study examines the possibility for ATSI and mainstream media to contribute to improved mental health among its target audience. In order to do so, the study examines: how mental health is promoted currently; whether barriers to positive coverage might exist; and if so, to suggest ways that such barriers might be overcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Media Educator
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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