Guidance for journalists covering mental health stories in indigenous communities added to Mindset / En-Tête

LONDON, ON, April 10, 2017 /CNW/ - Advice and essential background for Canadian journalists tackling stories involving mental illness and indigenous communities is now available in a bilingual field guide widely used in newsrooms and journalism schools across the country. It provides valuable definitions and suggestions for effective coverage of a range of mental health issues.

The new chapter has been added to create a second edition of the bilingual guide Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health / En-Tête : Reportage et Santé Mentale. More than 6,000 copies of the guides, introduced in 2014, are currently in use. These guides were hailed by the public editor of The Globe and Mail as setting a new standard for mental health reporting. 

Mindset / En-Tête is a project of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, an educational charity whose primary focus is the physical and mental wellbeing of journalists themselves. The project is supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with funds from Health Canada, and by CBC News.

Forum president Cliff Lonsdale said the addition examines an area of mental health reporting that can be rife with difficulties and misunderstandings for non-indigenous Canadians. 

"Social factors play a part in mental disorders everywhere, as they do in psychological wellbeing," he said. "Collective cultural experience is a major influence. Among the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, that often means the phenomenon of intergenerational trauma - a result of colonization and government programs the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada now calls attempts at cultural genocide."

And yet, he pointed out, there is significant variability in the incidence of mental illness among Indigenous people. 

"Even groups who have gone through very similar experiences and deprivations don't all have the same outcomes. Suicide, which runs twice the national rate among Indigenous people on average, is a very big problem in some communities and almost unknown in others, where people seem remarkably resilient. Emerging evidence suggests that turns on the degree of control people feel they have over their lives and their futures." 

Bound copies of the guides are now available without charge to news organizations and journalism schools while supplies last. The complete second edition, or just the new chapter, can also be downloaded as PDF files from the Mindset and En-Tête websites. 

Our thanks to CNW Group for supporting this announcement.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

For further information: Please see the Mindset website or contact Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, 1-519-852-4946,

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