Research for Mind has found that 1 in 3 people (31%) feel “less alone” following news coverage of mental health – a rise of 22% since 2016.
It follows a year of high profile media coverage including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex’ Heads Together campaign, Danny Rose becoming the first playing England footballer to speak out about depression and ITV’s Coronation Street putting a focus on suicide and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
The findings come as the Mind Media Awards 2018 open for entries. The awards celebrate the best reporting and portrayals of mental health in the media. Mind is now calling on journalists, producers and podcasters from TV, radio, print and online media to submit work, which has shone a light on mental health and challenged negative stereotypes.
The research also shows almost a third of people (28%) started a conversation about mental health following news reports and more than half (53%) said the Royal Family had got the whole nation talking about mental health.
Meanwhile, one in four people (26%) who saw a mental health storyline in a soap contacted a friend, colleague or loved one experiencing mental health problems and 16% sought help for themselves from a health professional.
The public also considered TV broadcasters (81%) or newspaper journalists (79%) as having more influence in contributing to the public’s attitudes to mental health than teachers (75%) or politicians (70%).
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:
“These statistics show that high profile, positive media coverage can have an immediate and dramatic effect on the nation’s mental health – not only helping people to feel less alone, but encouraging people to speak out and seek support for themselves and others.
“Last year saw an unprecedented amount of coverage of mental health issues. From Stormzy to the Duke of Sussex speaking out about their experiences, there has been a sea-change in people’s confidence to open up and a recognition that in doing so it can help others who may be struggling in silence.
“It’s clear that journalists still wield an enormous power in influencing the public’s understanding and awareness of mental health. The media now have the opportunity to continue that momentum, and shape a better national conversation about mental health.
“We urge journalists, producers and programme makers to build on this ground-breaking year and are excited about receiving strong entries to this year’s Mind Media Awards.”
In his speech at last year’s Mind Media Awards, the Duke of Sussex said:
“At the beginning of the year William, Catherine and I believed the country was on the cusp of something special. We noticed after decades of hard work from dedicated campaigners, people seemed ready for a different kind of conversation on mental health.
“Everyone was tired of stigma and scare stories about mental illness, and frustrated it was always being written up in a negative way. They saw that their children were emotionally open in new ways that seemed positive and empowering. Finally, we were all beginning to grasp that mental fitness was an issue worth talking about for every one of us. They were ready for a truly national conversation on mental health.
“In classrooms, in workplaces, around the dinner table, between friends even between strangers. People are now really talking about their own wellbeing and looking to help those around them. And while just talking doesn’t cure all ills, we are now shattering the silence that was a real barrier to progress.”
Fearne Cotton, who hosted the Mind Media Awards 2017, said:
“2017 felt like a real turning point. A lot of people feel up for being very honest, and that’s a very scary thing to do. The more people that have done it, the more people want to come out and talk about their own story, and the more people that do that the better. Because we are all then in a gang that can help each other.”
The judging panel for the Mind Media Awards is made up of media industry experts, many of whom have personal experience of mental health problems or have previously been honoured for their work at the Awards. Winners will be announced at the Mind Media Awards on Thursday 29th November 2018.
For more information and to enter, visit The Mind Media Award's website
The categories open for entry for the Mind Media Awards 2018 are:
News and Current Affairs
News strand or news programme that can best demonstrate a commitment to mental health reporting across the year. Entries should include a compilation of news stories which should be no longer than 45 minutes in total.
Full length documentaries or compilations of excerpts from series that observe and report real life situations and stories. This might include observational ‘fly on the wall’ formats. These may be broadcast or available online. Entries should be no longer than one hour in total.
A single drama or drama series transmitted on TV, radio or online. If entering a series, provide either a compilation or a single episode accompanied by a synopsis of the other episodes to give context.
TV programmes that cover mental health within an entertainment, comedy or scripted reality format including entertainment magazine and chat show formats. It may be awarded for an individual programme or for a compilation of shorter excerpts taken from a series or strand. Entries should be no longer than one hour in total.
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.
Entries may be one episode (but should be accompanied by a synopsis of the other episodes to provide judges with context) or a compilation from a number of episodes following a single story line. Entries should be no longer that one hour in total.
Factual or docu-drama radio programme. Compilations from a magazine programme will also be considered. Entries should be no longer than one hour in total.
A print or online magazine or newspaper that demonstrates commitment to reducing stigma around and/or raising awareness of mental health issues through a campaign, series of features or range of coverage across the year. Excludes specialist mental health publications.
Factual podcasts hosted online by a website, publication or radio station or run independently. Entries can be a single episode or a compilation of material which should be no longer than one hour in total. Excludes shows which are broadcast and then made available as podcasts.
Journalist (free to enter)
An individual journalist (print, broadcast or online) who has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of mental health issues. Entries must originate in the UK and be published or broadcast from the UK. Entries must be either a body of work from across the year, or an individual article which demonstrates significant research or investigative journalism.
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.
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. Entries should include evidence of reach and impact.
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 separate entry required - this will be selected by the judges from the shortlisted entries.
To be eligible for the Mind Media Awards 2018, programmes or articles must have been broadcast or published in the UK, or have been available online between Sunday 18 June 2017 and Sunday 17 June 2018.
The closing date for entries is midday Friday 10 August 2018.
For more information and to enter, visit The Mind Media Award's website
You can also join the conversation on Twitter with @MindCharity using the tag #MindAwards