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Classified in: Health
Subjects: VET, DEI

Words Matter: Guidelines for Journalists When Reporting on Veterans

A Webinar for Journalists, Veterans, and the General Public

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 25, 2021 /CNW/ - In an effort to support journalists when reporting on Veteran issues, the Centre of Excellence on PTSD (CoE ? PTSD) has collaborated with Dr. Rob Whitley of McGill University's Douglas Research Centre to develop a set of guidelines for journalists reporting on Veterans, especially when covering  issues related to PTSD, mental health and suicide. 

These guidelines will be the focus of a live webinar, Words Matter: Guidelines for Journalists When Reporting on Veterans, on Wednesday, 27 October 2021 and derive from Dr. Whitley's extensive research in this area. Including a list of "Do's and Don'ts," they aim to promote a fair, balanced, and accurate understanding of the complexity of the Veteran experience in media reporting.

In 2017, the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) published the Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. It emphasized that media coverage of events related to Veteran mental health, particularly when reporting on suicide, has a critical impact on Veterans' perceptions and experiences of their own mental wellness. Dr. Whitley said, "My ongoing research indicates that media coverage of Veterans is often informative and helpful, for example by discussing the negative impact of going to war and the challenges of the transition from military to civilian life. However there is room for improvement, as many stories discussing Veteran mental health (especially PTSD) often focus on crime and violence, and rarely talk about rehabilitation or recovery. Moreover, stories about Veteran suicide often omit help-seeking information and sometimes go into detail about the suicide method used. As such we have created these guidelines to help Canadian journalists responsibly report Veteran suicide and mental health in the future."

Fardous Hosseiny, Deputy CEO of the CoE, added, "Given the immense service Veterans and their Families have contributed to our country, we owe it to them to ensure that reporting on Veterans, Veteran issues, and Veteran mental health is done in a sensitive, balanced, and accurate manner."

The webinar will feature Dr. Rob Whitley, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, and Research Scientist, Douglas Research Centre, along with Gavin Adamson, Associate Professor, School of Journalism, Ryerson University, Walter Callaghan, Veteran, PTSD Survivor, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, and Laryssa Lamrock, Strategic Advisor for Veteran Families, Centre of Excellence on PTSD.

The guidelines will be available for download following the event in English and French.

To register for the webinar: Registration ? Centre of Excellence on PTSD (veteransmentalhealth.ca)

To download the media guidelines following the webinar: Veterans and the Media ? Centre of Excellence on PTSD (veteransmentalhealth.ca)

To access Whitley's just published academic paper examining media coverage of Lionel Desmond's suicide: https://doi.org/10.3138/jmvfh-2021-0060

To access the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy (2017): caf-vac-joint-suicide-prevention-strategy.pdf (canada.ca) / https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/dnd-mdn/documents/reports/2017/strategie-conjointe-prevention-suicide-fac-acc.pdf

About the CoE ? PTSD:
The Centre of Excellence on PTSD is an independent intermediary organization funded through Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to conduct research and provide CAF and RCMP Veterans, their Families, and mental health service providers with access to up-to-date evidence-based information and resources to improve mental health and well-being outcomes. The CoE ?PTSD is guided by four interrelated, community-based Reference Groups comprised of Veterans, Veteran Family members, researchers, and service providers. 

SOURCE The Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Other Related Mental Health Conditions

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News published on 25 october 2021 at 15:12 and distributed by: