The legal clause concerning discrimination states that the press must avoid prejudicial references to a person’s race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation as well as to any physical or mental illness or other disability. These details should be omitted unless absolutely relevant to a case, because a thoughtless column can be so hurtful.
Another clause states that when reporting a suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used. People detained under the mental health act are patients, so language like caged or jailed are inaccurate and hurtful. Journalists have often been known to use other unacceptable adjectives and are also warned against using terms basket case, schizo or nutcase. Not only can such language cause distress to the family involved, it is detrimental to the patient’s treatment. It can also create a climate of public fear and rejection, adding to the already existing stigma.