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Research projects

Media images of mental ill-health in connection with violent crime

About this project

Project information

Project status



Joel Rasmussen

Research subject

This project studies the Swedish online-press’ portrayals of mental illness in the context of Anders Behring Breivik's terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011. This focus is due to the fact that crime is the most common news category in which news media deals with mental ill-health. At the same time, few people who have a mental disorder ever commit any crime. Stereotypes of criminality, dangerousness and unpredictability thus spread throughout society. These media images provide a logic for discriminatory acts that may have real, social and economic consequences (e.g., in terms of housing, employment, and policy agendas). The project sets the main focus on the issue of stigmatizing media portrayals of mental ill-health, and also highlights public relations strategies that can be used to improve media reporting from the perspective of peoples’ equal rights regardless of psychological differences.


Research funding bodies

  • The national association Hjärnkoll