Article points to shortcomings in coverage of campus mental health issues

November 27, 2014

A column in University Affairs points to some of the many problems affecting news coverage of mental health issues in academe. Melonie Fullick says that coverage of mental health issues often suffers from serious shortcomings, conflating short-term stress with mental health issues, offering students advice or directing them to services that may not be applicable or accessible to them, focusing on personality traits and attitudes rather than mental health issues, and neglecting ongoing dialogue around mental health matters. Fullick says that coverage is often driven by a desire for clicks, an approach that “is more likely to dramatize, and simultaneously trivialize, the problems under discussion, and to amplify themes that already dominate rather than challenging or bringing nuance to them.” Fullick goes on to argue that coverage too often focuses on individual factors and responsibility while ignoring institutional and societal issues. She says that coverage should emphasize less what sufferers of mental illness should do, balancing that narrative with critiques and activism around institutional factors. University Affairs