Media is an important source of information about mental health for the public. The current study analyzed the information about schizophrenia divulged by the largest Brazilian newspaper. A content analysis examined articles on health and news involving affected individuals or suspected cases. The articles were rated against indicators of poor quality reporting and of effective health communication. The presence of myths was examined. The search identified 687 articles, 75 of which fulfilled the inclusion/exclusion criteria and were selected. The themes with the highest number of articles were mental disorders and violence, treatment, and etiology. Three articles described the social inclusion stories of affected individuals. The coverage addressed genetic factors, drug-induced psychosis risk, and antipsychotic benefits, which may contribute to stigma reduction toward treatment. However, the articles divulged stigmatizing messages, and the entire complexity of the disorder was not discussed. Dangerousness was a common theme, which may invalidate positive messages about social inclusion.
*Department of Collective Health, Federal University of Sao Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; †Department of Health Service and Population Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK; and ‡Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of Sao Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
M. T. B. D. received a grant from CAPES, the Brazilian Ministry of Education, to carry out a doctorate. J. J. M. is an I-A level Researcher from the National Research Council (CNPq) in Brazil.
Send reprint requests to Jair de Jesus Mari, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Rua Borges Lagoa 570, 1° andar, Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP CEP 04038-000, Brazil. E-mail: email@example.com.