Exploring Stigmatizing Discourses of Mental Illness in Pakistani Newspapers through CDA Lens in Psychology

  • Maham Zehra Lecturer in Psychology, Department of Psychology, National University of Modern Languages, Multan
  • Farzana Khan English Language Lecturer, Department of English, National University of Modern Languages, Multan C.
  • Shumaila Naureen English Language Lecturer, Department of English, Riphah International University, Islamabad
Keywords: Mental Health, Newspapers, Media Discourse, Stigma, CDA, Psychology


Mental health stigma remains a significant challenge in Pakistan, contributing to negative attitudes, behaviours and outcomes for people with mental illness. The present study aims to analyse stigmatizing discourses of mental illness in Pakistani English newspapers using the three-dimensional model of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). A sample of newspaper headlines published between 2015 and 2023 was selected and analysed using the CDA framework. The results revealed that stigmatizing discourses were prevalent in these newspapers including labelling, anthologizing, stereotyping and marginalizing. These discourses reflected broader social and cultural factors such as cultural norms, beliefs and power relations. The findings also highlight the need for more effective policies and interventions aimed at reducing mental health stigma in Pakistan and promoting a more inclusive understanding of mental illness. The study also provides valuable insights into the role of the media in shaping public perceptions towards mental illness in Pakistan and can inform the development of more responsible media practices as well as more comprehensive mental health policies.