Associated Press adds ‘mental illness’ entry to AP Stylebook

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Big props to the Associated Press (AP) for coming up with guidelines for journalists on how to approach the topic of mental illness; especially after the Newtown tragedy. Read the article by Richard Friedman, MD, on the often-misdiagnosed focus on mental illness immediately following the shootings here. While the recommendations from the AP are focused on adults, there are many similarities to children and youth so take note.

AP wire media reporting guidelines –
“It is the right time to address how journalists handle questions of mental illness in coverage,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. “This isn’t only a question of which words one uses to describe a person’s illness. There are important journalistic questions, too.

“When is such information relevant to a story? Who is an authoritative source for a person’s illness, diagnosis and treatment? These are very delicate issues and this Stylebook entry is intended to help journalists work through them thoughtfully, accurately and fairly.”

The entry, which was immediately added to the AP Stylebook Online and will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring, reads as follows:

Mental illness


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