Stigmatisation or Destigmatisation?

An Analysis of Newspapers Reporting on Mental Health Problems in Malaysia

  • Yang Lai Fong
doi: 10.17646/KOME.of.5


Mental health has emerged as an international priority to secure health, well-being and human development. Media are important sources of health information, and this gives media a powerful voice in contributing to the creation, perpetuation, evolution and/or attenuation of stigma towards mental illness. Through employing stigmatisation as the theoretical framework and qualitative content analysis as the research method, this study examined the coverage of mental health problems during the Covid-19 pandemic by Malaysian legacy and online newspapers. Six dimensions of stigma (concealability, origin, course, disruptiveness, aesthetics and peril) were examined and it was found that individual level of origin and peril were the most prominent dimensions of stigma found in the reporting. In addition, the newspapers focused on promoting mental health awareness and literacy in their destigmatisation effort, while reflecting either a positive or neutral valence in their coverage. The implications of the findings were discussed with regard to the role of media in reporting mental health problems and destigmatisation of mental illness.


mental health mental disorder mental illness stigmatisation destigmatisation

How to Cite

Yang, L. F. (2023). Stigmatisation or Destigmatisation? An Analysis of Newspapers Reporting on Mental Health Problems in Malaysia. KOME, 11(2), 91–119.


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