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MHCC hosts symposium about Canadian media and mental health stigma

April 5, 2012

On March 21, 2012 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) hosted a symposium for journalism students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) about how the Canadian media contributes to stigma against people with mental health conditions.

Event speakers included Michael Pietrus, Director of the MHCC anti-stigma initiative, Opening Minds; André Picard, a journalist with the Globe and Mail; two British Columbians with lived experience of mental health conditions; a family member; and Rob Whitley, Assistant Professor, UBC Graduate School of Journalism. In his presentation, Whitley drew upon primary research showing that over 40 per cent of media articles on mental health or mental health conditions focus on danger, violence and criminality. Additionally, just 12 per cent are optimistic in tone.

Following a similar event last year at the University of King’s College, Halifax, 75 per cent of participants said that they would do something differently as a result of their participation, including changing views about mental health.

For more information, see the full press release on the Mental Health Commission of Canada website at www.mentalhealthcommission.

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