Stigma Spotters

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STIGMA SPOTTERS
Call For: MISSOURI STIGMA SPOTTERS
Thank you for considering becoming a STIGMA SPOTTER.¯ With your help, the State Advisory Council (SAC) for the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services and the Governors Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee (SPAC) will be able to promote and reward positive and informative media content and discourage stigmatizing an inaccurate content.  It is an opportunity to educate journalists and marketing professionals on the accepted standards for coverage.

Your task as a STIGMA SPOTTER is to pay attention to media that you would ordinarily see, hear, or read within your community (TV, Radio, and Print, including local newspapers, magazines, bulletins, online content, advertising and school publications) for both inaccurate, stigmatizing content and excellence in portraying the issues surrounding mental illness and suicide.  When you come across something that inspires and educates, or something that offends or seems inaccurate, you will then provide information about the video, written material, advertising campaign, or other publicly displayed story or information to the Department of Mental Health.

Your submission will be forwarded to the SAC to consider for recognition at the annual Mental Health Awareness Day event each April or, if the topic is specific to suicide it will be forwarded to the SPAC for a potential award during National Suicide Prevention Week in September.  Your efforts around the submission will be acknowledged formally during the events.  Information that is stigmatizing or inaccurate will generate a letter that includes information about how the media can be part of the solution in covering these sensitive topics.

WHAT TO DO:

  • When you spot something of interest, please note the time and date (if applicable) and where the item was displayed, published or broadcast.  For example:  
  • Headline:  People who participate in XYZ mental health program are getting jobs --¯ Published in the Kansas City Star on 1/1/09
  • Young man jumps from bridge --¯ KRCG Jefferson City broadcast date:  2/2/09
  • Halloween Haunted Asylum¯ sponsored by Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority at XYZ College
  • The John Doe Show on radio station ABCD, Polk City.  Broadcasted 3/1/09. The host was describing a homeless person as a crazy drunk¯ in a discussion of community issues.
  • Send the information by email to: rita.mcelhany@dmh.mo.gov. Be sure to put the words Stigma Spotter¯ in the subject line. And provide your contact information in the email.   You may also call her at 573-751-3220 and leave a message with the information above.  
  • If you are someone who only watches TV or only reads the newspaper, please help us identify others in your area who may be able to monitor the other media.  Let them know about this program and the contribution they can make to ending stigma in Missouri.  The more people who are involved the more effective this will be.
  • If you have any questions, need more information or have ideas to share about this effort, please feel free to contact Rita McElhany at rita.mcelhany@dmh.mo.gov  or call 573-751-3220.