The island on Second Life was an interesting immersion of a few symptoms of schizophrenia. I found the voice hallucinations one of the more interesting parts as I knew those who have schizophrenia can have these but never understood truly how it sounded or felt like. Having known about the disorder and that it truly affects peoples lives, this new angle on it really made me learn more about how those with the illness can feel.
If reporting on issues of mental health, I think it’s important to be sensitive to the topics and those you’re talking with who may be suffering while still reporting it in a way that those who don’t have a mental illness can learn from in a positive way. I see a lot of negative mental health coverage which doesn’t help the stigma associated with mental health. The way it’s easy to slip in diagnosis that may not be true or use words and phrases that can degrade the person you’re reporting on is something we should take as seriously as when we report on race, gender, or other sensitive topics.
If interviewing someone with mental health, it’s best to let them know up front the subject of the interview. I think sending an idea of the questions that you would be asking or what you’re trying to get out of the interview and story as a whole, being as transparent as possible, would allow the person to be more open and truthful about their experiences because there is a feeling of trust with their story.