Mental Health : representations of the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders in South African newspapers.
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TITLE: Mental Health: Representations of the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders in South African newspapers. AIM: This paper is a report of the findings of a study aimed at exploring how the print media in South Africa covers the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, and related research evidence. RESEARCH METHOD: I examined 1033 news stories that covered the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders from 20 South African newspapers retrieved from the SABINET – SA Media online archive over a 10-year period (2004–2014). I analysed basic characteristics and conducted a content analysis of the news stories. FINDINGS: A comparison of the circulation figures of the provincial newspapers indicates that the Western Cape has the highest circulation figures. Of the news stories included, the highest number of news stories were published in the newspapers The Star (19.3%) and Cape Argus (13.3%). The year in which the most news stories in the sample were published was 2013 (16.0%). There were 143 (79.0%) news stories that had problems as their main frame. 78 (43.1%) stories were framed to diagnose the causes of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, followed by 32 (17.7%) that primarily made moral judgements about actions and issues around the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. Stories that were classified as suggesting remedies were relatively less frequent (n = 18, 9.9%). Problems and causes were the dominant frames each year. Suggested Remedies were shown to be the least reported each year, however fluctuations across the years of analysis can also be observed. CONCLUSION: My study underscores the potential role of media analyses in illuminating patterns in print media coverage of health issues. It also shows that an understanding of coverage of health research evidence could help spur efforts to support the climate for evidence-informed mental health policymaking. Researchers in low- and middle-income countries need to be more proactive in making use of media analyses to help illuminate mental health related issues that require the attention of health policymakers, stakeholders and reporters, and to identify potential areas of research. KEY WORDS: Non communicable diseases, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Psychotic Disorders, Catatonia, Schizoaffective, Schizophreniform, Mental Health Care, Media Analysis, Newspaper, Research Evidence.