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Mental health & suicide guidelines

30 March 2015

The NUJ has guidelines on responsible reporting on mental health, mental illness and death by suicide.

The guidelines were prepared by the National Union of Journalists in Scotland with significant input from Dr Sallyanne Duncan, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Strathclyde, whose research interests include media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide, and has a number of published works in that field. The Scottish government also supported the guidelines with funding and with input from a range of stakeholders which included Choose Life, See Me and the Samaritans.

ethical reporting mental health, mental illness & suicide

Download the NUJ guidelines.

The TUC have also reported a new report on good practice in the workplace.

Although there is greater public awareness of mental health, the number of workers affected by mental health issues is enormous, says the TUC. Many employers do not deal with mental health issues and this may lead to many people losing their job, and even worse, failing to find new work as a result of the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Good practice in workplace mental health is based on a seminar held to share good practice examples from unions in different sectors and the experiences of delegates. It focussed on preventing problems arising as well as solving them positively when they did occur.

In one example, Usdaw negotiated with a call centre employer to train workplace representatives, set up mental health first aid, teach members to spot the early signs of a problem, stop it getting worse, help sufferers to recover sooner and reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems.

The report concludes by identifying problems that may need to be addressed in a workplace, and measures that can be taken to make a workplace ‘mentally healthy’, including:

  • training for union representatives and middle managers
  • early referral to Occupational Health
  • recognising gender aspects of mental health
  • recognising the business case for positive mental health
  • conducting stress risk assessments.

TUC Disability policy officer, Peter Purton, said:

"People with mental ill health continue to have amongst the lowest employment rates for disabled people according to the Labour Force Survey. The evidence suggests that mental ill health can be linked to workplace stress, which makes it particularly concerning that recent surveys have reported a rise in the incidence of stress at work.

“But the good news is that trade unions are finding ways to prevent mental health problems arising, or to work with employers to enable a person with a mental health condition to continue in work.”

Download the TUC guidelines

Tags: , mental health, suicide, mental illness, reporting guidelines