Almost half — 45 percent — of the surveyed participants could not recall seeing any stories or reports covering mental health in any media over the past twelve months.
Only a third remembered a newspaper report, a quarter recalled a documentary broadcast, and just 22 percent saw a mental health issue featured in a drama or soap opera.
Of those surveyed, 31 percent were unable to name a character or TV personality with a mental health problem. In respondents aged 18-24, however, this figure rose to 44 percent.
Of those who could think of someone, Stephen Fry, Mind’s president and a prominent actor and writer, was the most commonly identified. Fry has discussed publicly his struggles with bipolar disorder.
The survey also showed that newspaper reports are trailing behind television in the way they present these issues. For example, while 89 percent of individuals thought that TV documentaries realistically represented mental health problems, only 59 percent said the same about newspaper coverage.
Furthermore, fewer than half of those questioned considered newspapers to be sympathetic in their treatment of mental health problems, compared to 73 percent for documentaries and 66 percent for television news.
“It is disappointing that mental health problems are still largely hidden from view in the media,” said Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer.
“This is an issue that is part of the fabric of everyday life, with one in four people experiencing a mental health problem every year, but it is clear that this is simply not being reflected across the different forms of media. It is especially concerning that young people are even less exposed to these vital issues.”