Mental Health and the Media

Mental Health and the Media

I am hoping to raise funds to complete an M.Phil to investigate the language used by media organisations to discuss mental health.

We did it!

On 16th Oct 2015 we successfully raised £170 with 6 supporters in 56 days

About the Project

The Background:

Research by Mind (2013) indicates that one in four people experience mental health each year. Despite the prominence of these conditions, Time to Change (2008) report that nine out of ten people with mental health conditions experience stigma and discrimination to the extent that it has a significant negative impact on their daily lives.

Although sole responsibility cannot be laid on the mass media, research by Time to Change (2011) suggests that a high proportion of media publications promote the stigma surrounding mental health through the way they choose to present it. Time to Change (2011) discovered that 63% of references to mental health in TV soaps and dramas were pejorative and unsympathetic, highlighting the importance of addressing the way media organisations discuss mental health conditions in order to reduce the stigma that people who have them experience.


The Project:

My M.Phil aims to help address the stigma surrounding mental health by investigating the language used by media organisations to discuss mental health. In conducting this research, I hope to improve media presentations of mental health by uncovering ways that accurate and sensitive portrayals of mental health can be achieved.

During the course of my M.Phil, I aim to investigate the language used by media organisations between 1979 and 1986 to identify the effect that the 1983 Mental Health Act had on media discussions of mental health by taking the following steps:

  • Firstly, I aim to investigate the language used by media organisations between 1979 and 1982 to identify patterns in the way mental health was discussed.
  • I will then investigate the language used by media organisations between 1983 and 1986 in similar media texts to identify patterns in the way similar mental health conditions were discussed.
  • Finally, I will compare these two sets of patterns in order to uncover how the language altered following the institution of the Mental Health Act.


The Hopes:

By identifying the shifts in the language used to discuss mental health, I hope to uncover a blueprint for new media guidelines that will ensure this important social issue is discussed in the public domain in an accurate and sensitive manner.



So Why Crowd-Funding?

Although I've been trying to raise the funds I need myself, I've been unable to raise full amount on my own. For the past year, I've also been applying to various research councils, charities and organisations, but have not been successful so far.

As this project is something that I am incredibly passionate about and determined to complete, I'm turning to crowd funding in the hopes of raising the funds I need to not only help address this important social issue, but to also achieve my ambition of becoming a University lecturer.

Any contribution that you can make, no matter how small, will be much appreciated. Even if you are unable to make a contribution, I would be incredibly grateful if you could share this page in any way that you can.

Thank you.



About Me

My name is Keighley. I'm an aspiring academic who is incredibly passionate about Linguistics. It's my ambition to become a University lecturer so that I'm able to not only lecture in Linguistics, but also conduct research into this subject.

After several encounters with mental health, I've become increasingly determined to help reduce the stigma surrounding this topic in any way I can. It's my hope that, with a little more of a push, this stigma can be overcome.


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