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Media reporting of specific mental illnesses in the context of crime: implications for mental health literacy

Catherine Francis, Jane E Pirkis, David R Dunt, R Warwick Blood and Philip M Burgess
Med J Aust 2003; 179 (11): 638.
Published online: 1 December 2003

To the Editor: Mental health literacy of the general public is suboptimal, and knowledge and attitudes about some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and substance use disorders, are particularly poor.1 The media have been implicated in contributing to overall low levels of mental health literacy, with studies showing that mental illness is commonly portrayed negatively and linked with crime.2,3 However, few studies have considered whether particular mental illnesses are especially likely to be “framed” in the context of crime.

  • Catherine Francis1
  • Jane E Pirkis2
  • David R Dunt3
  • R Warwick Blood4
  • Philip M Burgess5

  • 1 Program Evaluation Unit, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 School of Professional Communication, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT.
  • 3 Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.

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