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For Reporters Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Tips for writing effectively about mental health and addiction issues

  • Write often about mental health and addiction issues  – the greater awareness generated about mental health and addiction issues the more chance there is of helping people who suffer from problems associated with these illnesses.
  • Let us know if you are looking for story ideas – we have lots of them and would be more than happy to share these ideas with you.
  • We are asking for your help in reducing the stigma around mental health and addiction because stigma is a huge problem for people living with mental illness or addiction.
  • We can accomplish this by dispelling some of the negative stereotypes that follow people who suffer from mental illness or addiction such as:
    • people with mental illness and/or drug related problems are all potentially violent and dangerous
    • people with mental illness and/or drug related problems are somehow responsible for their condition
    • people with mental illness and/or drug related problems have nothing positive to contribute
  • Let’s work together to get rid of the following ways to describe a person with a addiction problem: “heroin addict”, “drug user”, or alcoholic
    • Why:   Because defining a person by their disorder makes the disorder become that person’s “master status” – the reader or viewer will only see the person as defined by the illness not by who they really are as an individual.
  • Help us reduce stigma by not leaving the person out of the way we describe an individual.
    • Why:  Because when a person is called a schizophrenic – the reader will only see the disorder and conjure up mental images that are likely negative and stereotypical.  The same can be said for a person who is called a “manic-depressive or a “depressed person.” Chances are they could be receiving treatment for these symptoms and are in fact not feeling depressed at all.
  • Please refer to us as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or CAMH on second reference.  When referring to our other locations please use their street names, for example, the College Street Site, the Russell Street Site, the Queen Street Site and the Brentcliffe Road Site.
  • If it is at all possible try and contact us well in advance of your deadline – we understand deadlines are sometimes tight – but we want to be able to identify the most appropriate spokesperson or expert to answer your questions

CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
Connex Ontario Help Lines
Queen St.
1001 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON
M6J 1H4
Russell St.
33 Russell St.
Toronto, ON
M5S 2S1
College St.
250 College St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1R8
Ten offices across Ontario