Mental Health Issues and the Media: An Introduction for Health Professionals

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Studies have also revealed that certain disorders tend to attract greater stigma and prejudice than others. In one study, a significant number of respondents reported that they believed people with severe depression should simply "pull themselves together". Negative stereotypes can prevent people from acknowledging early signs of mental health problems and this leads to people not seeking help until symptoms are causing considerable disruption to their lives. Mindframe provides media professionals with access to accurate information that conveys the complexity of mental illness and asks journalists to be aware of their own values and assumptions so that reporting is not unintentionally reinforcing negative stereotypes.

The initiative involves building a collaborative relationship with the media and other sectors that influence the media such as key sources for news stories. Program activities include national leadership, resource development and national dissemination, and ongoing contribution to the evidence base in this area. There are a number of exciting research studies on eating disorders currently taking place in Australia.

Mental Health Essay

Many of these researchers are actively looking for participants. To foster collaboration and research participation we maintain a directory of ethically approved Australian research projects on our website. If you are interested in participating, or know someone who might be interested, check out our research directory. If you have a current research study that you would like us to include in our listings, or you would like some help recruiting study participants, contact us at info nedc.

Issue 26 | November 2014

About: PPbiO is an Australian and New Zealand-wide research trial of 3 online programs that can be accessed on computers, tablets and smartphone devices. Researchers are looking for women volunteers aged years who have concerns about their body weight or shape and would like to improve their body image. Participation involves: Completing a confidential brief online survey to determine suitability for the trial taking about 25 minutes Being randomly allocated as in a lucky dip to one of the 3 free programs.

Two of the programs will run over 9 weeks while the third program provides tips on improving body image. Completing the survey on 3 extra occasions: after the program finishes, 6-months later, and months later. A combined effort of researchers in the United States, Sweden, Australia and Denmark the goal of the study is to transform our knowledge about the causes of eating disorders.

Participation involves: If you have suffered from anorexia nervosa at any point in your life, you can help ANGI with this study. Your contribution would include a brief minute interview and a blood sample. If you have never had anorexia nervosa, but still want to contribute, ANGI invites your participation as well. About: This research project will investigate if compulsive exercise and low mood are predictors of disordered eating behaviours in men and women. Participation involves: Participants will be asked to complete 3 anonymous questionnaires online, which will take approximately 20 minutes.

The questionnaires cover topics relating to exercise behaviours, current mood and eating habits. More info. About: This is a 2-part study that examines the ability to make judgments about images under time pressure in people with eating disorders.

Issue 26 | Mental Illness in Media: Glamorisation and Other Issues

Participation involves: Participation will take part in two sixty minute surveys to take place on the same day one week apart. More info: Please send an email to vartanian. Young people go through periods of great change biologically, physically and psychologically. These changes can be stressful and can lead to feelings of insecurity or self-consciousness, which can increase the risk of developing an eating disorder.

Although the onset of an eating disorder can occur at any age, it is most common in young people. This program helps laypeople identify, understand and thereby reduce the stigma , and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. In recent years, health policy experts and healthcare providers have begun to encourage closer integration of mental or behavioral health and primary care services.

It is assumed that integration will increase access to mental healthcare services, particularly in rural communities, as well as increase quality of care through enhanced coordination of services. In rural areas, where behavioral health workers and primary care providers are in short supply, integration is vitally important.

Integration of these services is an effective strategy for maximizing the use of scarce rural healthcare resources and improving the quality of care for both behavioral health and primary care patients. Numerous studies, including this Maine Rural Health Research Center report , have shown that patients in rural areas who need mental health services typically see their primary care provider first. Often it is the primary care provider who initially diagnoses the need for mental health services.

In addition, a high percentage of mental healthcare for rural patients is already provided by primary care providers, so integrating the services of a mental healthcare provider into the primary care setting can expand on what is already being done. Efficiency of service and ease of use also create a level of coordinated care and access that benefits both the patient and the provider.

Mental Health Essay | Bartleby

The integration, or even the co-location , of mental health services with primary care services can also help to reduce or eliminate the effects of the powerful social stigma associated with mental illness in many rural areas. Social stigma prevents many rural citizens from obtaining needed services, but it is less of a deterrent when behavioral health professionals see patients in primary care settings. The integration of behavioral health and primary care services also reduces the challenge of maintaining anonymity. Rural patients may be reluctant to be seen in settings where their privacy might be compromised but more willing to seek mental healthcare from the more common and accepted primary care clinic.

Primary Care, Behavioral Health, Provider Colocation, and Rurality discusses how co-location, although different from integration, offers the potential of future collaboration with primary care providers, as well as opportunities for care coordination.

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When there are few resources to provide direct mental health services in a community, local healthcare professionals may need to refer patients to facilities outside of the community. Rural healthcare providers and veterans can find information about mental health services for veterans in their area by contacting either their closest VA medical center or community-based outpatient clinic CBOC. See the VA Mental Health website for a broad overview of mental health programs available to veterans. Suicide is a major public health concern across the U. According to Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America , suicide continues to be higher in rural counties and the gap between rural and urban suicides has widened over time.

A CDC report, Trends in Suicide by Level of Urbanization — United States, — , discusses possible causes for the geographic disparity: limited access to mental healthcare, social isolation, the opioid overdose epidemic, and the economic recession. Included in the report is this chart showing how the disparity has widened in recent years:.

In , the suicide rate in rural counties was Additional information regarding the impact of suicide in rural communities can be found in Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America. This policy brief developed by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services NACRHHS also discusses prevention strategies available at the state and national level and provides recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services urging it to focus more explicitly on emphasizing and including the rural dimensions of suicide into their programs, research, and outreach to address existing knowledge gaps and strengthen the evidence base.

We compared the volume of conversation with real-life events to measure the impact that they had on public discourse. The following four events were isolated as having the largest degree of influence over online discussion. Twitter saw a high proportion of the mental health mentions, with news sites contributing second most to the data set. Celebrities Stephen Fry and Richard Branson were vocal in wanting to increase mental health awareness and frequently shared petitions and encouraged giving to charities.

Piers Morgan stated that the term mental illness was being overused, sparking debates regarding the definition of mental health issues. Anxiety and body image were the symptoms most commonly tied to bullying. Parents in forums blamed social media for cyberbullying and online content for adding pressure and concerns about appearance. Sufferers described bullying causing lasting anxiety, which then hindered some from forming new social relationships. Eating disorders was most common condition category.

Sufferers described internalizing negative self-images when bullied and not identifying it as a mental health issue. As a teen I suffered from E. The chart below shows relative increases in shares of self-harm discussion when bullying is also cited for each condition type. Percentages are shown in the table below. This was consistent across condition types, and highlights bullying as a potential catalyst toward self-harm.

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  5. Those experiencing bullying described an accumulative effect of this with their mental health symptoms. However, there was also a sub-group of authors using social networks to relate their past experiences of mental health.

    These included stories of bullying leading to self-harm, but also of progress and recovery. The average share of negativity was The share of UK negativity also grew slightly over time, meaning that online attitudes towards this type of emotional display are not improving in the UK. Attitudes to crying, when viewed as an indicator of emotional openness , may mean that those experiencing mental health symptoms and those experiencing bullying are deterred from seeking help. In the map below, darker shades reflect regions with more pejorative attitudes toward crying.

    Areas with lighter shades were more sympathetic on average. Grey areas reflect insufficient data volumes. Students and sports enthusiasts ranked highest for negative attitudes towards crying. Among these author groups, almost two thirds of crying conversation was critical or pejorative in tone. By contrast, authors with an interest in the environment and animals used a significantly more compassionate tone.

    Emotional openness was lower in Wales, Scotland and NI. Among urban centres, Stoke-on-Trent, Newport, Plymouth and Southampton all ranked highly for pejorative conversation. The zero line represents mean average across the data set. Pejorative terms were common among key interest groups. Gamers, sports and music fans all over-indexed for pejorative terms relating to mental health. Male authors were also more likely than females to use this type of language. Professional voices, including executives, researchers, politicians and healthcare practitioners were more likely to discuss mental health in neutral or constructive ways.

    Measuring attitudes across demographics sheds light on groups who may face higher barriers to treatment when experiencing bullying and mental health symptoms. Our analysis finds that people predominantly talk about anxiety and depression online and seldomly discuss eating disorders and body dysmorphia BDD. Body dysmorphia BDD received the lowest overall conversation levels, totalling This was followed by eating disorders, which generated However, anxiety and depression was the most discussed condition by some measure, generating around 3.

    We compared the volume of conversation with real life events to measure the impact that they had on public discourse. The following three events were isolated as having the largest degree of influence over online discussion. Authors frequently spoke of co-symptoms, indicating an awareness that other conditions may be linked to depression and anxiety symptoms. This listing style of conversation was twice as prominent as authors speaking about a specific illness triggering anxiety and depression, such as an author who was diagnosed with internal cystitis and who said they did not suffer from anxiety beforehand.

    The data also aligns with treatment discussion, which focused on drugs more heavily than lifestyle or environmental factors. The prevalence of drug related conversation is reflective of an upward trend in the prescription of antidepressants, with research in the UK claiming that there was a Alternative therapies were discussed almost as often, with marijuana, meditation, essential oils and alternative diet — featuring ingredients such as turmeric — all mentioned. The finding suggests an established group of authors open to holistic approaches to care. Individual authors, whose link to the condition was not clearly identifiable, formed the next most dominant author group.

    Notably, their most dominant emotional state was that of giving advice, further indication of the peer to peer relationship which exists online. Therapy was the most discussed treatment by far, appearing in almost three times as many mentions as the next most discussed treatment option: drugs. Conversation looked at the themes of medical professionals not having adequate training, pleas to approve the drug sudol or debate about NHS funding in the UK, indicating the general public does place some emphasis in concerns about eating disorder care.

    One male author asked for help and advice on how to support his girlfriend, who suffers from bulimia, and a patient experiencing binge eating episodes used a forum to seek advice on entering a rehab facility. There was slightly less conversation from authors giving advice than from those seeking support, suggesting a potential need for further online support.

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    8. The data reflects an opportunity to cultivate and strengthen existing online support networks. This indicates that viewing content on such sites may be more prevalent than authors actively posting, or that the conversations take place in closed forums. Individuals whose link to the condition was not identifiable were the most prevalent author group online, accounting for around one third of all conversations, followed closely by news authors, indicative of media interest in eating disorders.

      The most dominant emotional state of individual authors was supportive, followed by a tone defensive of those suffering from an eating disorder, followed by advice giving, indicating that individuals talking about eating disorders online are most likely to offer a supportive voice. The following five events were isolated as having the largest degree of influence over online discussion. The prevalence of mirror based conversation could form the basis of future awareness campaigns focussing on condition early warning signs. The next most prevalent theme featured authors sharing online as a form of treatment, such as posting a photo a day to Instagram as a way to motivate themselves to continue treatment or posting to a blog to share their emotions.

      This suggests some patients use social media to facilitate treatment. Individual authors with no identifiable link to the condition were the most prominent author group, followed by current sufferers. The charts below represent the share of mentions posted on days of the week and time of day for each symptom. Sleep disruption stood out as an outlier in terms of time of day distribution, peaking in the early morning and late at night. In the night, authors complained about work stress and TV keeping them up. The symptom was also most commonly expressed on Monday, further suggesting that the pattern of the working week could be an important factor in sleep disruption.

      Authors also complained on weekends about waking up early. Sleep disruption overindexed in Scotland. In London, appetite change overindexed with morning and lunch emerging as the most common topics; suggesting appetite change affects authors at different times throughout the day. Work was also a common theme, with authors describing how their appetite change affects their routine.

      Chronic pain overindexed in the East of England, with back pain emerging as a prominent theme. The relatively clear distinction of the symptoms whose conversation overindexed from south to north may be indicative of trends within regional symptomatic conversation. The chart below represents how strongly correlated other factors were with sleep disruption volumes in the UK.

      Figures were derived from a statistical model.

      Glamorisation & Reporting On Eating Disorders in the Media

      For seasonal variables, the figure represents how much greater sleep disruption volumes were in that season, controlling for other factors. On average, sleep disruption volumes were 0. This can be attributed to authors complaining about heat, with around 8, mentions seen around this theme across the period analyzed. Authors also complained about being too cold around 3, mentions , which can be linked to winter, also seeing higher sleep disruption volumes.

      General election conversation was also linked to an increase in sleep disruption volumes, albeit not as strongly as the Brexit referendum. Together, these findings suggest that political events have the potential to disrupt sleep patterns.