Media power and public mental health policy

Am J Psychiatry. 1989 Sep;146(9):1185-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.146.9.1185.


The author describes the functions of the news media and their influence on public mental health policy making. News media functions are divided into the categories of selecting the news, reporting information, serving as a channel of communication, presenting views and opinions, and legitimizing the issues. These functions are illustrated by focusing on a highly publicized New York City policy to involuntarily hospitalize mentally ill homeless people living in the streets. Strategies are suggested to mental health professionals on how to effectively interact with the news media.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons
  • Mass Media*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services*
  • New York City
  • Psychiatry
  • Public Relations
  • United States