Mental Health Foundation warns over Jami-Lee Ross coverage

by Charlie Dreaver / 23 October, 2018
Jami-Lee Ross

Jami-Lee Ross. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Mental Health Foundation says language used to describe Jami-Lee Ross' distress is damaging to others with their own mental health troubles.

Media outlets have reported Mr Ross was admitted into mental health care over the long weekend.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson told Morning Report stigmatising comments that have been made by politicians, commentators and on social media were concerning.

"I think most recently they've come through in some of the ... comments that appear on social media around some of the stories. But again, there are politicians, both local body and national, that are using some language that perhaps needs to be thought about more carefully," Mr Robinson said.

"It goes to that fundamental undermining of people and fear of people when they're going through a mental health issue."

Read more: National's extraordinary anniversary gift to the government | How to talk to someone who's struggling with their mental health

Mr Robinson warned those who were using words like 'unbalanced' or accusing Jami-Lee Ross of blaming his actions on his mental health, were stigmatising mental illness.

"That stigma, that nastiness actually spills over to affect other people, it may be your sister, your brother, someone at your work, it may be you at some point in your life, who also finds yourself going through mental and emotional distress and remembers those attitudes.

He said he knew from his own experiences, there's already self-stigma to deal with.

"It is very easy to feel bad about yourself, to feel shamed, to feel weak and you should be able to cope with this, and to have those kinds of attitudes then amplified through others through their words, even if it's not about you, but somebody who's going through something similar to you, it's damaging."

He said that can stop people from speaking out and seeking help.

The foundation had already been contacted by people who were finding the comments disturbing.

He added there needed to be a clear difference between criticising someone's political decisions and someone's health issue.

"We need to be careful we don't jump into the put-down language we often throw at people when they're making decisions we disagree with, like 'crazy' and 'unstable' as a way of undermining their judgement, particularly when it's relating to someone who is clearly going through some very tough times," he said.

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

Where to get help with mental health

Need to talk?: Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor, anytime.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

Youthline: 0800 376 633  or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Latest

March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the age of the machine?
102434 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the…

by Jenny Nicholls

Complacently relying on algorithms can lead us over a cliff – literally, in the case of car navigation systems.

Read more
IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computing
102458 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computin…

by Peter Griffin

The Q System One, as IBM calls it, doesn’t look like any conventional computer and it certainly doesn’t act like one.

Read more
James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth gap
102456 2019-02-15 14:54:45Z Politics

James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth…

by RNZ

The week before a major tax report is released, Green Party co-leader James Shaw has again challenged his government partners to back the tax.

Read more
Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma Chand
102448 2019-02-15 10:28:12Z Crime

Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma…

by Anneke Smith

Arishma Chand was just 24 when she was murdered.

Read more
Top wine picks from Central Otago
102233 2019-02-15 00:00:00Z Wine

Top wine picks from Central Otago

by Michael Cooper

Tucked into small corners, Central Otago vineyards offer nuggets worth digging for. Wine critic Michael Coopers offers his top picks.

Read more
Ivanka and her tower of crumbs
102404 2019-02-14 10:33:12Z Arts

Ivanka and her tower of crumbs

by Preminda Jacob

For two hours each evening, an Ivanka Trump lookalike has been vacuuming a hot pink carpet at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Read more
Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing to keep up
102393 2019-02-14 09:52:16Z Social issues

Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing…

by The Listener

The introduction of a free youth mental-health pilot for Porirua, and later the wider region, is welcome news, but it's far too little, far too late.

Read more
Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensive crouch
102387 2019-02-14 09:21:07Z Politics

Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensiv…

by Guyon Espiner

For a government promising 'a year of delivery' it has begun in something of a defensive crouch.

Read more