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Media & Mental Health Initiative (MMHI)

We believe all forms of media (news, entertainment, social) have the power to make a transformational impact on health and mental health, when used accurately, safely and in ethical, developmentally appropriate ways. This initiative aims to understand and improve the impact of media on mental health through partnerships, collaboration, and projects aimed to enhance the prosocial, safe use of media in multiple forms.

MMHI Goals and Strategy

Journalism Media

Goals

Increase reporting that normalizes the prevalence of mental health conditions and emphasizes stories of help-seeking and recovery.  

Reduce copycat suicides by increasing reporting that adheres to the safe reporting guidelines for suicide prevention.

Strategy

Build media partnerships and a national network focused on fostering collaborations between suicide prevention and mental health organizations and journalists, including schools of journalism. 




 

Social Media

Goals

Contribute to the development of a multi-disciplinary ethical framework that prioritizes health and wellbeing.

Enhance technology’s capacity for promoting connection, education, creativity and help-seeking.

Minimize the adverse effects of technology use, particularly on youth.

Strategy

Partner with youth, parents, educators, policymakers and industry to better understand the interaction between social media and youth mental health and to create a supportive, healthy, safe and developmentally appropriate infrastructure that reinforces healthy norms and minimizes health risks associated with technology use.

Entertainment Media

Goals

Normalize and de-stigmatize mental illness, help-seeking and recovery in stories and productions.  

Reduce copycat suicides and other unhealthy behaviors by increasing stories and portrayals of mental illness that adhere to recommended reporting guidelines and minimize the appeal of unhealthy behaviors.

Strategy

Partner with writers, directors, producers, networks, actors, influencers and youth to encourage safe, positive conversations about mental health, follow media guidelines, establish best practices, and contribute to the development of healthy, accurate content for entertainment media.

 

Tools and Resources


TEMPOS, Tool for Evaluating Media Portrayals of Suicide

#chatsafe: a young person's guide for communicating safely online about suicide

#chatsafe guidelines have been developed in partnership with young people to provide support to those who might be responding to suicide-related content posted by others or for those who might want to share their own feelings and experiences with suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviours.

Try out our new web interactive version of TEMPOS

HX Report: Aligning Our Tech Future With Our Human Experience

Our #goodforMEdia team members were profiled in the HX Report from All Tech is Human: 

  • I am optimistic that our society can build a tech future aligned with our human values. More and more younger generations who are growing up in a digital age are advocating for healthier social media practices.” – Emily Chan
  • Paradoxically, connection is on one of the most powerful tools that technology offers, and when we are unable to be authentically ourselves when engaging with technology, we lose access to that tool.” – Zoe Adelsheim

Social Media and Youth: Findings and Recommendations from an Investigation into Teen Experiences

By better understanding typical teen experiences online, this project aimed to elevate what teens see as supportive in their online interactions and what they wish would change. The findings also raised many new questions and opportunities for further research.  

Media & Youth Suicide: Best Practices for Reporting and Storytelling

A 2018 pre-conference symposium dedicated to promoting responsible portrayals of youth suicide in the media and included a predominately regional mix of representatives from news media, entertainment media, social media, schools of journalism, youth, and mental health experts.

Hear youth in the Bay Area express their thoughts on representation of mental health in the media.

Youth-Led Projects

Hear from our youth co-founders about the #goodformedia campaign. This video was recorded by Made of Millions as part of their 2021 Generation Change livestream series.

#GoodforMEdia

#GoodforMEdia is a peer mentoring campaign for older teens and young adults to share their personal stories, insights, and strategies with younger teens and tweens to support their healthy engagement with technology and social media.

Resources

#GoodforMEdia’s Guide to Social Media for Parents
#GoodforMEdia’s Guide to Social Comparison

CineWell

CineWell is a youth-led project with the goal of creating space to discuss and evaluate movies focused on youth friendliness, authenticity, and accuracy and portrayal of mental health themes.

News Mentions

Presentations

  • Prizmah Mental Health Summit 2022

    Mental Health, Suicide and the Media: What Clinicians Should Know

    Dr. Victor Schwartz discusses the interaction between media portrayals of mental illness and stigma, understanding media influenced suicide contagion, and a best practice model for safely reporting and portraying suicide in the media.

  • Children and Screens

    Looking Back and Moving Forward: Children’s Pandemic Experiences So Far and Where to Go From Here

    Program Director, Vicki Harrison served as an expert panelist on Oct 6, 2021 for “Looking Back and Moving Forward: Children’s Pandemic Experiences So Far and Where to Go From Here,” a Children and Screens Ask The Experts webinar, during which an interdisciplinary panel of experts discussed the physical, mental, and social impacts of COVID-19 for young people. From exploring what we’ve learned about virtual learning to the increased need for media literacy, the panelists shared information and advice to support youth through the next phase of the pandemic.

  • Art & Tech For a Better World

    A new generation of designers

    Vicki Harrison, Program Director for Stanford Psychiatry's Center for Youth Mental Health & Wellbeing presents #GoodforMEdia the peer-mentoring platform designed and developed at Stanford with young people 16-25.

  • International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)

    How Journalists Can Best Report on Mental Health and Suicide

    Victor Schwartz speaks at the International Center for Journalists about the importance of safe, responsible reporting of suicide. “Everything that is the natural impulse of a journalist in writing a really good story is problematic when reporting on suicide. The media guidelines are meant to direct the writer away from those kinds of impulses so that the audience does not identify with the events of the story or with the person.”

  • The Kennedy Forum

    Our Words Matter: The Role of Journalists in Creating Safe, Human-centered Stories about Mental Health

    Dr. Steven Adelsheim and Scott MacLeod, Co-Founder of The Sophie Fund, discuss how to promote responsible and fair communications in the media and how journalists can play an influential role in educating and informing the public about public health issues and reduce the prevalence of sensationalized inaccurate information that fuels stigma and discrimination regarding mental health and substance use disorders.

  • 5th Annual Student Mental Wellness Conference hosted by Wellness Together and California Department of Education

    Youth-led Mental Health Campaigns Promoting Healthy Social Media Use & Cultural Literacy

    The GoodforMEdia team present on how peer-focused, youth-led initiatives can support middle-high school student mental health by highlighting the #goodforMEdia campaign as well as preliminary outcomes of surveys illuminating how culture, race, and ethnicity impact mental health and help-seeking.

  • Center for Scholars & Storytellers

    Accurate Mental Health Portrayals Impact Youth

    Produced by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

  • Made of Millions Foundation

    Media and Youth Mental Health

    In episode 4 of Generation Change, Vicki Harrison of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health hosts a panel of youth guests from allcove and the #GoodforMEdia project to discuss how online spaces impact their emotional wellbeing.

Workshops and Conferences

May 19, 2022 - Spitfire University

Suicide and Mental Health Narratives in the Interest of Public Health

Vicki Harrison and Chloe Sorenson provide a special learning session on writing about suicide and mental health, and how the words and images we use matter.

April 29-30, 2022 in Chicago, IL

American Association of Suicidology 55th Annual Conference

Featured Plenary: “Portrayals of Suicide in the Media” 

Panel Discussion with our MMHI team and Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer at MTV Documentary Films/Paramount+ on the challenges and lessons learned in producing a major network documentary, “Each and Every Day,” and the impact of suicide and mental health in popular media on youth mental health. 

Workshop: “Innovative Approaches for Collaborating with the News Media to Prevent Suicide Contagion” 

Our TEMPOS team facilitated a workshop on TEMPOS and innovative methods of working with journalists to improve media messaging on suicide.

April 28-May 1, 2022

Association of Health Care Journalists Annual Health Journalism Conference

Workshop: “How to write about suicide” Vicki Harrison participates in a panel and hands-on, skill-building workshop for journalists on how to minimize potential harms in reporting on suicide using TEMPOS and developing a better understanding of this issue as a public health problem.

Generation Mental Health

Global Mental Health: Agents of Change, “Effects of Social Media and News on Mental Health – Panel”

Vicki Harrison participates in a panel discussion that examines the effects of news and social media on the mental health of individuals, the stigmatization and public awareness of mental illness, and initiatives that help individuals navigate mental health in a digital world and mobilize media for positive change.

Youth Tech Health Global Conference

GoodforMEdia – a youth-led peer mentoring campaign for youth to educate and influence one another, supporting healthy engagement with social media

The GoodforMEdia team share youth perspectives on effectively navigating common challenges with social media, why peer mentoring is a useful strategy for addressing the impact of social media on youth mental health, and insights learned from rolling out a youth-led peer mentoring campaign.

May 2019

Mindful Media Youth-Led Workshop at YTH Live 

August 2018

Youth-led Mindful Media conference 

May 2018

Signed & Distributed Joint Statement from Experts on the Release of 13 Reasons Why, Season 2

May 2018

Media Roundtable at APA Conference

April 2018

Pre-Conference on Suicide and Contagion

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