I became a Divisional Public Education Officer (DPEO) for the College's External Affairs Department in 1990. My first media training day was most informative. I learned how to disseminate information; how to inform journalists about issues pertinent on the day; and ways to challenge stigma. I learned that it was safest to assume that most journalists do not usually understand the complexity of mental health issues. The health correspondent for the BBC at the time showed how adequate preparation – making written information available in a helpful question and answer format – and development of personal relationships with journalists through understanding how they work, their deadlines, pressures, etc., are important factors in trying to do the job properly. I also learned the golden rule: never say anything off the record.
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