Good Yarn Guidelines: First Nations Organisations Call Media to ‘Lift Standard of Conversation’ to Reduce Harms
16 September 2023
Today, advocates for Indigenous mental health are launching the Good Yarn Guidelines, a new national guideline that aims to improve the safety and accuracy of media reporting on First Nations issues and reduce harms to First Nations social and emotional wellbeing and mental health, which can occur due to inaccurate, offensive or insensitive reporting.
“The way media report on First Nations issues can have a profound effect on the social and emotional wellbeing of First Nations peoples and communities,” says Dr Clinton Shultz, Gamilaroi/Gomeroi man and Director of First Nations Partnership and Strategy at the Black Dog Institute.
“The increase in misinformation/disinformation and hate speech against First Nations peoples during the Voice referendum campaign has had significant impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of our communities.”
“These guidelines aim to set guardrails for media reporting about First Nations issues to reduce harm in the future, in the same way the Mindframe Guidelines do for reporting on mental health and suicide.”
“This isn’t about casting blame or pointing the finger. It’s an acknowledgement that harm has occurred, whether intentionally or unconsciously, and that we need to do better.”
“If we want to take steps towards reconciliation post-Referendum, we need to lift the standard of the conversation so that First Nations people feel safe to participate, and that includes conversation in the media.”
The Good Yarn Guidelines include 10 principles for better reporting on First Nations issues:
- Culturally responsive language and practice
- Inclusion of First Nations voices
- Diversity of perspectives
- Safety of First Nations sources
- Relevance when mentioning First Nations identity
- Strength-based approaches
- Historical and cultural accuracy
- Alignment with Human Rights
- Appropriate image and video use
- Minimising the impact of hate speech
The Good Yarn Guidelines was co-developed by some of Australia’s leading First Nations mental health groups, including the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA), Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), and Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention, as well as mental health research institute the Black Dog Institute and Everymind, the organisation that developed the Mindframe guidelines for safe and accurate media reporting of suicide.
The Guidelines have also been endorsed by National Indigenous Television (NITV).
– ENDS –
Media enquiries: Lawrence Muskitta 0431481188 – email@example.com
Available for interview: Dr Clinton Shultz, Gamilaroi/Gomeroi man and Director of First Nations Partnership and Strategy at the Black Dog Institute.
About the partner organisations
Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) is the representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists in Australia. We aim to improve the social and emotional well-being and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by leading change required to deliver equitable, accessible, responsive and culturally sensitive psychological care which respects and promotes their cultural integrity. We advocate for increasing the number of Indigenous psychologists in Australia, to reach population parity and provide leadership on issues related to the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Black Dog Institute is a global leader in mental health research and the only Medical Research Institute (MRI) in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan. Areas of strength include suicide prevention, digital mental health, workplace mental health, new treatments, and prevention in young people. We join the dots, connecting research answers, expert knowledge and the voices of lived experience to deliver solutions that work across the health care system for patients and practitioners alike.
Everymind is a leading institute dedicated to the prevention of mental ill-health and suicide, with a vision of empowering people and organisations to implement change – for themselves, for each other and for the future. Their work includes over a two decades of experience designing and delivering best-practice programs addressing media reporting and public communication about suicide, mental ill-health and alcohol and other drugs.
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention. As a community controlled organisation, it is governed and controlled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and peak bodies, working in these areas to promote collective excellence in mental health care.
Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) is a national, member-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation. IAHA leads sector workforce development and support to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. !AHA also supports the broader allied health workforce and its associate membership of individuals and organisations with expertise, interest and commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our membership is diverse and works across sectors including but not limited to health, mental health, disability, aged care, education, justice, community services, academia and policy.
National Indigenous Television (NITV) is Australia’s leading platform for First Nations storytelling, made by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. With programs that inspire, instil pride and lead to a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledges and histories, the channel was first established in 2007 and has been part of the SBS network and available free-to-air to all Australians since 2012. Across news and current affairs – including the only national Indigenous television news service – documentary, drama, entertainment, sport and award-winning children’s programming, NITV celebrates Blak excellence, invests in the strength of Australia’s Indigenous production sector, and connects all Australians with the world’s oldest living continuous culture.