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Empowerment through Language: Achieving positive health outcomes for trauma affected veterans and first responders

Analysis and understanding the influence of the language used in public discussions about Post Traumatic Stress

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Once a taboo topic, post-traumatic stress (PTS) is now discussed openly.

But the language used when we talk about PTS also influences the health and wellbeing of those with PTS and their families, by shaping perceptions, attitudes and opinions. Recent efforts to ‘create awareness’ about PTS are well-intentioned and useful and have helped to focus attention on its prevalence and consequences. Yet, our understanding of the influence of language used in information campaigns and media reporting about PTS, and how it affects those involved, has been limited. This project provides an analysis of the language used in public discussions about PTS and those who serve our communities in the Defence force, police forces, and emergency services in Australia. A qualitative content analysis was conducted of 12 months of print media reporting on mental health issues in veterans and first responders, and social media content of Australian organisations supporting veterans and first responders. This analysis was supplemented by interviews about language use and PTS with personnel in support organisations, veterans and first responders, and journalists.

  • Team/Investigators

    Dr Leanne Glenny (University of South Australia), Dr Collette Snowden (University of South Australia), Dr Pamela Schulz, Dr Matteo Farina, Dr David Sweet

  • Funding Body

    MESHA (formerly The Road Home)

  • Year Commenced

    July 2017

  • Expected Completion Date

    February 2020

  • Contribution


  • MeSH Terms

    language; journalism; health outcomes

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