A proud day: Mental health and the media

IT is not very often that this newspaper chooses to make public awards or commendations it receives for its journalists’ work.

Like most media organisations in Ireland, we consider that part of the job.

However, we take particular pride today in the knowledge that Headline, Ireland’s national media monitoring programme, has recognised the Irish Examiner and its sister newspaper, the Evening Echo, for exhibiting responsible coverage of mental health and suicide-related issues.

The media plays a pivotal role in influencing the public view of suicide and mental health. That is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can help to remove the stigma that still attaches to mental health. Secondly, it may encourage those contemplating taking their own lives to seek help. Journalists rarely think of themselves as lifesavers, so it is particularly gratifying to note the comments of Professor Ella Arensman of the National Suicide Research Foundation. “Safer reporting will lead to saving lives,” she says. That is an awesome responsibility but one we gladly accept.

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