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Training media in Uganda to report responsibly on mental health

Posted on: Monday, January 17th, 2022

The media are important allies in the delivery of information about mental health to the general public, as media coverage can influence public understanding, attitudes and perceptions of mental illness. However, research has shown that the media in Uganda have a tendency to emphasise negative aspects about mental health and often choose to portray people with psychosocial disabilities as violent, unpredictable, insane and a danger to others and society at large. This portrayal only worsens the already present stigma, resulting in people with mental health conditions becoming even more isolated.

In August 2021, CBM supported our partner Mental Health Uganda to carry out training for media outlets in Uganda, to empower them to challenge stereotypes and stigma around mental health. This 2-day training course was carried out in both Soroti and Gulu districts, to improve the knowledge and skills of media professionals in these regions and ensure they report responsibly about mental health in future. Participants included editors and health reporters from different media organisations, representing television, radio and print.

Outcomes of the training included:

  • Participants reported increased interest in mental health issues and an awareness that stories don’t have to focus on negative aspects.
  • Participants reported renewed commitment to their role in breaking the stigma in communities, through the work that they do.
  • Editors spoke out on the fact that they would be more understanding around mental health issues and support journalists and reporters who may need to take more time to cover the stories.
  • The participants committed to featuring more stories around mental health awareness related celebrations.

Find out more about CBM’s work improving mental health support in the world’s poorest places (open link in new tab).