BJPsych Advances
Psychiatry and the media
Peter Byrne

Abstract

Aspects of print, broadcast, film and ‘new media’ are related to their interactions with psychiatry. Frequent representations of mental health issues are paralleled by the adoption of psychological theories into media studies. Key areas are covered where psychiatric items diverge from other medical specialities, such as the depiction of suicide, the dominance of ‘human interest’ stories and negative representation of people with mental illness. Although the language of mental disorders is important, the power of the image needs to be examined. Media items also have implications for public mental health (children as vulnerable viewers) and the clinical practice of psychiatry that are not uniformly negative. Television has limitations and clinicians are encouraged to participate in radio and other media. Resources and practical advice for media contact are provided.

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