Better newspaper coverage of mental health-related issues is a target for the Time to Change (TTC) anti-stigma programme in England, whose population impact may be influenced by how far concurrent media coverage perpetuates stigma and discrimination.
To compare English newspaper coverage of mental health-related topics each year of the TTC social marketing campaign (2009-2011) with baseline coverage in 2008.
Content analysis was performed on articles in 27 local and national newspapers on two randomly chosen days each month.
There was a significant increase in the proportion of anti-stigmatising articles between 2008 and 2011. There was no concomitant proportional decrease in stigmatising articles, and the contribution of mixed or neutral elements decreased.
These findings provide promising results on improvements in press reporting of mental illness during the TTC programme in 2009-2011, and a basis for guidance to newspaper journalists and editors on reporting mental illness.
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