SANE StigmaWatch, an initiative of the national mental health charity, SANE Australia, monitors the Australian media to ensure accurate and respectful representation of mental illnesses. It does this through monitoring, correcting, and logging media misrepresentation of mental illnesses.
The media often disseminates offensive images of people who have mental illnesses, and studies have shown that the general public is greatly influenced by such images.
In 1999, SANE Australia developed StigmaWatch to combat the stigma that occurs due to inappropriate or incorrect information shared by the media. As stated in the StigmaWatch report, StigmaWatch monitors the activities of journalists and editors, in a high-profile and flexible way. Incidents of unacceptable reporting are published on the SANE website within hours of being verified, and responses are then posted as soon as they are received. The general public is encouraged to join the StigmaWatch team and become part of the network of individuals who help monitor Australian media outlets.
Since its development in 1999, StigmaWatch has responded to more than 700 reports of stigmatizing incidents. The majority of journalists, editors, and media representatives who were contacted about their work have responded positively, accepting the reason for the complaint and giving an assurance that they would be more thoughtful in the future. StigmaWatch won a Gold Achievement Award at the Australian New Zealand Mental Health Services Conference in 2001.
For further information about SANE StigmaWatch, you may access the initiative Web site at www.sane.org.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting SANE Australia via e-mail at email@example.com and/or by regular mail at SANE Australia, P.O. Box 226, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia.