Top of the month: Mental health charities call for responsible reporting

The issue of mental health rose to prominence this month, and charities and campaigners were quick to urge the media and the public not to rush to judgements about the condition during a period of high emotion.

It followed reports that Andreas Lubitz (pictured), the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 who appears to have deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps, had suffered from depression. Three mental health charities – Mind, Time to Change and Rethink Mental Illness – published a joint response to "overly simplistic" headlines in the German media linking Lubitz’s actions to his reported condition. They said assumptions about risk "shouldn’t be made across the board for people with depression, or any other illness".

"There will be pilots with experience of depression who have flown safely for decades. Today’s headlines risk adding to the stigma surrounding mental health."

The comments were widely reported in other articles. A tweet from Mind, urging the media to "report mental health responsibly", had been retweeted 645 times at the time of publication.

Separately, mental health charities offered advice following reports linking Zayn Malik’s depression with his decision to leave pop band One Direction. Mind gave advice to parents after a hashtag promoting self-harm began trending on Twitter.

With mental health an issue unlikely to go away soon, the ability of campaigners to add balance to the debate will continue to be crucial.

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