Depictions of community care for the mentally ill in two English newspapers: a pilot, qualitative study

Descrizione dell’assistenza territoriale per le persone affette da malattia mentale in due quotidiani inglesi: uno studio qualitativo pilota

G. Carrà1, M. Clerici2

1 Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK; 2 Department of Neurosciences and Biomedical Technologies, University of Milano Bicocca Medical School, Monza, Italy



Depictions of mental illness in print media are predominantly negative, and concentrate disproportionately on bizarre behaviours. The present study explores depictions of community care for the mentally ill in print media in the UK.


By sampling two English newspapers, we retrospectively collected relevant items that were assessed by content and thematic analyses.


The overwhelming proportion of items were related to negative, violent representations. More than half of all items depicted the care of the mentally ill within the community as dangerous. The thematic analysis identified four themes: risk of dangerousness and threat; vulnerability; human rights; mental illness/psychiatric patient. Three of these produced a stigmatizing depiction of the mentally ill.


Inappropriate language was the main concern as along with particular framing devices, they may contribute to the social stigma associated with mental illness.

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