From touting spurious links between vaccines and autism to portraying people with mental illness as violent, the media too often showcase misinformation about psychology and mental health, said Danny Wedding, PhD, president of Div. 46 (Media).
"The signs, symptoms and presentation of mental illness are routinely misrepresented in the media, and it is extremely gratifying when reporters get it right," said Wedding. "Accurate reporting about mental illness and the challenges faced by people coping with mental illness will help reduce the stigma associated with these disorders."
To encourage and recognize those who strive to report the facts, the division presented its News Media Recognition Award to Carolyn Abraham of the The Globe and Mail and Nancy Shute of US News & World Report.
Abraham has covered areas including mental health, genetics and stem cell research for Canada's largest daily newspaper for 11 years. With a multimedia series called "Breakdown," Abraham followed a successful account executive through weeks of group therapy for social anxiety disorder. This story is typical of Abraham's work in that it enhanced the public's knowledge of mental illness and psychological research, Wedding said.
Shute writes the US News & World Report blog OnParenting, which covers mental health, behavioral issues and psychological research among other topics. She's tackled subjects such as cognitive behavioral therapy for teens with depression and the importance of protecting children from bullying.