Am I talking to the right source? If someone’s mental or substance use disorder is relevant, make sure your source has the credentials, experience and authorization to share information about the person’s experience or condition — and that the information is accurate. Hearsay or a relative’s opinion is not a diagnosis.
Professional or state associations and academic institutions are a good place to start if you’re looking for a specific expert.
Remember that someone’s circumstances may have more impact on the news event, like the violence or homicide that led to breaking news, than their behavioral health condition.
PRO TIP: Mental health is a public health issue. Let that inform your approach. And if a source offers a medical diagnosis, ask them how they know. That will help you understand if it’s accurate, a formal diagnosis or just an assumption.
What’s the best language to use? It goes without saying that as journalists, our words on any platform matter.
By describing someone as having or living with a condition and not as the condition itself or “suffering from” it, you shift viewers’ or readers’ perceptions about your subject’s experience or actions. Behavioral health experts call it “person first” language.
It helps humanize your subject and doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes or discrimination of others with behavioral health conditions. For example, you might say “Jo Smith, who lives with bipolar disorder” rather than “Jo Smith, who is bipolar.”
You might even suggest an appropriate headline or think about working with the copy editor,
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/three-questions-every-reporter-should-ask-when-covering-mental-health/