Although mental illness is a serious public health issue, little is known about the nature of national television news coverage of these medical conditions. The framing of this coverage, the subtopics discussed in stories, and the sources used to tell those stories of mental illness may have a significant impact on attitudes and behaviors tied to diagnosis, treatment, and social interactions with those with a mental illness. Through a content analysis of 18 years of coverage of anxiety and depression, we sought to gain deeper insight into the connections between source use and frames in national television news stories about mental illness. Prospect theory and Iyengar’s concepts of episodic and thematic frames formed the foundation of this content analysis. The data revealed different source use patterns in gain—versus loss-framed stories as well as in episodic—versus thematic-framed stories. Implications for researchers, news organizations, and mental health advocates are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Information Systems