News media starting to watch its language

when reporting about mental illness

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

The Associated Press Stylebook — the bible for news media accuracy and terminology — has just released its 2015 updates. The changes include the journalism profession’s first serious attempts to write clearly and accurate about mental health issues in general and suicide in specific.

So far, the mental health community seems most encouraged by the Associated Press’s new guidelines regarding stories about suicide.  The 2015 guidelines provide much-needed expansion of the AP’s 2013 guidelines, which included the first-ever attempts to recommend wording and terminology standards about mental health issues.

The Associated Press guidelines are just that — guidelines. Recommendations. Part dictionary and part encyclopedia. None of it has the force of law or even the leverage of shame. Individual media outlets and web-based publications remain free to set their own conventions for stories about mental illness and suicide.

The new 2015 AP Stylebook updates regarding suicide state: Continue reading

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