We aimed to assess the contents and tone of articles on mental health care in the UK print media by comparing them with reporting in the USA and Australia. Two broadsheets from each country were analysed using the Internet for a random 4 months over a 1-year period. The number of articles, their content and the views expressed in them were identified and compared.
A total of 118 articles on mental health care issues were found. The predominant tone of the articles in all three countries was negative, though there were slightly more positive articles in the USA and Australian media. Positive articles highlighted in the UK media covered mostly medical conferences and research findings.
Efforts to achieve a more positive attitude towards people with mental illnesses in the public, such as anti-stigma campaigns, operate against a background of predominantly negative coverage of mental health care issues in broadsheets. The coverage in the UK may tend to be even less positive than in the USA and Australia. Medical conferences and research findings can, however, be used to promote positive views of mental health care in the media.
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