The charity analysed peaks in visits to its online information pages for different mental health problems over the last six months, and found that page views doubled following some storylines and documentaries.
The largest increase followed the BBC Two documentary Psychosis and Me, where actor David Harewood retraces his experience of psychosis and being sectioned during his 20s. Following the broadcast last week, visits to Mind’s psychosis pages rose by 107 per cent in comparison to the daily average.
Channel 4’s six-part drama series Pure - about ‘pure O’, a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, also had a major impact on people seeking help. After episode two where the character learns she has OCD, hits to Mind’s OCD pages increased by 77 per cent.
The analysis comes as the Mind Media Awards 2019 open for entries. The Awards celebrate the best portrayals of mental health in the media, and Mind is calling for journalists and producers across print, online and broadcast media to enter work which has shone a light on mental health problems and challenged stereotypes.
Further examples include a 50 per cent increase in visits to Mind’s anxiety pages following the BBC One documentary Anxiety and Me with Nadiya Hussain, and a 47 per cent rise in people looking for information on psychosis following Louis Theroux’s BBC Two documentary Mothers on the Edge, which featured interviews with new mums experiencing post-partum psychosis.
The findings support research from Mind in 2017 on the impact of mental health stories on the nation’s mental health. This revealed that 33 per cent of people felt “less alone” following news coverage of mental health, while one in four people started a conversation with a loved one experiencing mental health problems and one in six people sought help from a professional after seeing a mental health storyline in a soap.
“These findings show the undeniable impact that accurate, sensitive portrayals of mental health can have on helping people to understand and make sense of issues in their own lives.
“It also highlights just how essential it is for the media to get portrayals of mental health problems right. An informative documentary or realistic storyline could make all the difference between someone recognising signs in themselves or others, starting a conversation and seeking help, or developing misconceptions that set them back in their journey.
“2018 saw mental health problems being discussed in the media with more openness and in greater depth than ever. We urge journalists and programme makers to continue this momentum and look forward to receiving Mind Media Awards entries this year that push the boundaries even further.”
In his speech at last year’s Mind Media Awards, Bryan Kirkwood, Executive Producer of Hollyoaks which won the Making a Difference Award said:
“It’s so important that shows like Hollyoaks dramatise the real life experiences of our viewers.
“It’s important to me personally because when I was seven, my mum took her own life after living with bipolar for many years. My family were scared and embarrassed and had no idea how to talk about it. And so quite simply, they didn’t. That silence became a secrecy, and that secrecy became a stigma.
“It’s part of why we’ve told so many mental health stories this year, to stop the stigma and help people have difficult conversations in their living rooms. Alfie’s schizoaffective disorder, Lily’s self-harm and Cleo’s eating disorder are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s happening in the real world.”
The judging panel of the Mind Media Awards is made up of media industry experts, many of whom have personal experience of mental health problems or who have previously been recognised for their work on mental health at the Awards. Winners will be announced at the Mind Media Awards at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London on Wednesday 13 November 2019.
For more information and to enter, visit the Mind Media Awards website.
The categories for the Mind Media Awards 2019 are:
A full length documentary or a compilation of excerpts from a series that observe and report real life situations and stories.
A single drama or drama series transmitted on TV, radio or online.
TV programmes that cover mental health within an entertainment, sports coverage, comedy or scripted reality format including entertainment magazine and chat show formats.
News and Current Affairs
News strand or news programme that can best demonstrate a commitment to mental health reporting across the year.
Factual podcasts or a series of related podcasts hosted online by a website or publication.
A campaign or planned series of related features in print or online publications which demonstrate a commitment to raising awareness around mental health.
Factual or docu-drama radio programme or series which explores mental health. Compilations from a magazine programme will also be considered.
Soaps or continual series
A TV or radio soap transmitted twice or more each week continuously for at least six months of the year. Alternatively, a continual drama series where stand-alone storylines conclude within each episode but the main characters continue throughout the series.
Digital Champion (free to enter)
Open to bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters, Instagrammers, YouTubers, Tumblrites and any individual online creators originating in the UK, who embrace digital media to raise awareness about mental health or to support the mental health community.
Journalist (free to enter)
An individual journalist (print, broadcast or online) who has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of mental health issues.
Student Journalist (free to enter)
An individual or group of students for print, broadcast or online material developed for university or college media targeted at students, or for a piece of journalism completed as part of a university course.
Presented to an individual who has experienced mental health problems, for their inspirational contribution to at least one of the shortlisted entries. No separate entry required – this will be selected by the judges from the shortlisted entries.
Making a Difference
Presented to an individual or organisation in recognition of their outstanding contribution to improving the portrayal of mental health in the media. The award is for those who set the agenda and initiate change. No entry required - this will be selected by the judges from the shortlisted entries.
To be eligible for the Mind Media Awards 2019, programmes or articles must have been broadcast or published in the UK, or have been available online between 18 June 2018 and 17 June 2019.
The closing date for entries is midnight on Wednesday 17July 2019.Mental health in the media