Spreading the word on the Mental Health Media Charter
The tweet for mental health champions was put out only last week, and I answered the call. Not because I consider myself a champion of anything (except perhaps a champion of calamity and chaos), but because I am passionate about improving our input/output around all that is mental health, and mental illness.
Note, the two are distinctly separate.
As written in her own words, for World Mental Health Day 2017, Natasha Devon MBE…
…launched the Mental Health Media Charter. This is a set of 7 simple guidelines for ensuring imagery and language used in mental health reporting is responsible, genuinely educational and stigma-reducing.
So…what we’re saying is, to-date some of us are a bit pants at the way we discuss and report on mental wellness matters. Yes, but that in itself isn’t something to feel any shame about. We are all learning together how to navigate these new waters of sensitive and responsible reporting, and it’s still a relatively modern concept that the mind is something we can openly talk about without shame.
No, the only true issues are when we continue to write and discuss the mind in ways which influence and promote negative thinking patterns and behaviours. When we overlook the sensitivity of the topic and continue to berate others for not just getting with the programme. And when we defensively cause enduring levels of discrimination and stigma that perpetuate our society because changing our ways is too hard/unimportant.
I think it’s safe to say we’re in good hands, but woudn’t you like to see more organisations added to this list? I would.
On 10th October 2017, Natasha issued a written invitation to the editor of every major publication in the UK, inviting them to sign the charter. She keeps an ongoing log of who has responded and what they have said using the Twitter account @MHMediaCharter.
Personally, I’m not a journalist, a media guru, an organisation or a high-ranking official with swathes of influence over the public. But I am a blogger, and as I’ve learnt just this weekend, “rain drops into the ocean together“. My actions are a part of the whole, and I want to do my part to reduce the stigma, to improve the conversation, and to also help shape the future of our relationship with our minds in a positive and inclusive way.
The charter can be signed by individuals or organisations, including bloggers, youtubers and presenters. Those who sign up will receive a specially designed ‘stamp of approval’ drawn by Rubyetc for their website and social media.
Read on for Natasha’s delightfully illustrated broadcast, and then check out the bottom of my page to see the awesome stamp of approval that I’ve been awarded.
Honoured, well and truly.