Time to Change hosts a series of events for media professionals that focus on best practice, encourage debate and support the attendees to feel confident in writing or reporting about mental health sensitively and accurately.
The format is usually a quick intro about what Time to Change is all about, a panel discussion punctuated with TV clips, Q&A with the audience and then some time for networking over drinks. We aim to have a diverse panel, made up of senior media professionals and experts on the particular subject up for debate. Because it's always important to include the views of people with lived experience of mental health problems, we also take that into account when putting the panel together.
For example, at one of our events this year, for broadcast journalists, the panel comprised Sian Williams, Claudia Hammond, Toby Castle and Victoria MacDonald, as well as Katherine Welby (daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury) who talked about what it was like being interviewed about her mental health problems.
We have also held successful events for magazine journalists, writers of soaps and dramas, newspaper journalists, the makers of reality TV programmes and those involved with youth media.
These are our aims:
- each event will focus on a different output or a different genre
- it is hoped that these events will encourage journalists and programme makers to talk about how mental health is covered - and give them the chance to hear from some top names in their industry
- we think the best way for people to find out more about what it is like to live with a mental health problem is to meet those of us who have direct experience of mental health problems
Our next event will focus on coverage of sports stars who have mental health problems in the news.
With high profile sports stars such as footballer Clarke Carlisle, cricketer Andrew 'Freddy' Flintoff and cyclist Victoria Pendleton sharing their mental health problems in the media, does disclosure by such role models help tackle stigma?
The debate will also cover the reporting of high profile suicides, such as footballer Gary Speed.
This event will be for print and broadcast journalists, and factual TV/radio producers, on Thursday 27th November, at BBC Media City, Salford.
Registration will open soon.
If you're more interested in drama, why not watch this clip from the EastEnders team talking about how best to write and direct a storyline involving a character with mental health problems.