(Scroll down for general introduction to the site)

Mark Kelley and two producers from CBC News: The Fifth Estate have won the 2019 Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting. Their win was announced during a virtual awards Gala tonight run by CAJ. Two others received Honourable Mention awards. 

A team of four journalists from the Montreal daily La Presse earlier won the French equivalent Prix En-Tête pour le reportage en santé mentale au travail for an eight-part series about the emotional problems of entrepreneurs. Details on the En-Tête website.


Third editions of the Mindset and En-Tête guides are now in preparation, for publication in the fall. They will include a new chapter on covering mental health stories involving young people, an update to the chapter about addictions, and extensive further development of the suicide reporting chapter, among others smaller updates. The objective is to develop more nuanced recommendations appropriate to several categories of stories around suicide, ranging from incident reporting to investigative work. 

A major panel discussion on that issue lasting three hours was conducted by the Forum at the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention national conference in Edmonton on 18 October 2019. The keynote event, titled Taking Suicide Reporting Recommendations to the Next Level, was sponsored by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The Forum maintains editorial control of the Mindset and En-Tête guides and will have sole responsibility for the content of the expanded suicide chapter.  

Just as the causes of suicide are complex, so now is media attention. It increasingly extends to in-depth exploration of underlying factors, preventative measures, interventions and treatments as well as investigation of shortcomings on the part of authorities. Yet current recommendations for media still primarily relate to reporting deaths responsibly and demonstrating the existence of hope. Important as these are, we want to explore how advice could now be adapted to fit four proposed categories of suicide reporting. The Forum is, for example, concerned about a recent instance in which a public authority has sought to block investigative reporting about apparent shortcomings in its suicide prevention measures by misapplying published guidance. 

The new chapter on reporting mental health stories involving young people will be based in part on a panel discussion sponsored by the Forum at the CAJ national conference last May in Winnipeg. The new editions, to be available by the Fall of 2020, will also contain statistical updates and other issues, such as reflecting a change in CP style on the capitalization of Indigenous. 


A study published in BMC Public Health (September 2018) reviewing Canadian newspaper coverage of the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why shows major English-language Canadian newspapers generally adhered to core best-practices promoted by Mindset, as far as they apply to a fictional story, and says coverage "sensitively discussed suicide from various angles, prompting productive discussion and dialogue about youth suicide. 

Read more in the Covering Suicide section. 

Welcome to Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health. This website is part of a project created by Canadian journalists for journalists. 

Start by reading our concise field guide, available in print or by downloading a copy by clicking on the link in the left sidebar. The website is intended to expand on what you will find there and to encourage discussion.

Mindset is all about doing better journalism. Stories that are more factual, more complete and don't contribute to stigma. We celebrate journalism that challenges wrong and outdated assumptions about mental illness, provides factual information, and probes unfairness and systemic flaws: The kind of work we think you probably came into journalism intending to do.  

It's time to stop shying away from mental health issues. They are a far-reaching and growing fact of Canadian life. Click below to hear Linden MacIntyre's introduction to the website - and his rallying cry:

Although journalists are still criticized for their 'sensationalist' approach to stories involving mental illness - especially the rare ones that also involve violence - there has been a growing amount of excellent Canadian journalism in this area in recent years, across all media. 

Ill-informed stories that play on warped perceptions are still to be found. But there's no doubt that in mental health coverage, the tide has already begun to turn in favour of more accurate, insightful and probing stories that do our
profession proud. The journalists responsible are following a long tradition that has brought many other abuses and taboos out of the shadows. Click on the icon for a video montage featuring 
André Picard of The Globe & Mail, Karen Pauls of CBC News, and Michael Kirby of Partners for Mental Health.


"Mindset is an important new guide to improving reporting and writing about mental health. It should be within easy reach in all newsrooms." --- Toronto Star

"A new standard set for reporting on mental health." --- Globe and Mail

"Every journalist can benefit from the site’s excellent content.  When it comes
 to reporting on mental illness and suicide, Mindset offers some important
 food for thought.“ --- Brunswick News

Mindset, and its French counterpart En-Tête, are funded in part by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, using a grant from Health Canada, and supported by CBC News. The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is solely responsible for the guides’ content.