Media Guidelines: Send requests from media for information/interview to: [email protected]
News stories, articles, and dramatic presentations on the subject of suicide have come under question in the last few years. The concern has been that such presentations may have stimulated some persons to attempt suicide. There is confusion about how the subject of suicide should be treated to minimize this danger.
It is important to report a suicide in a straightforward manner so that the suicide does not appear exciting. Reports should not make the suicidal person appear admirable, nor should they seem to approve of the suicide.
To discourage imitative or copycat suicides, avoid or minimize: - Reporting specific details of the method - Descriptions of a suicide as unexplainable
e.g., “He had everything going for him.” - Reporting romanticized versions of the reasons for the suicide(s), e.g., “We want to be together for all eternity.” - Simplistic reasons for the suicide
e.g., “Boy dies by suicide because he has to wear braces.”
In addition, the print media can reduce the imitative effect by: - Printing story on inside page - If story must appear on first page, print it below the fold - Avoid the word “suicide” in the headline - Avoid printing a photo of the person who died by suicide
DO consider whether this particular death is newsworthy.
DO look for links to broader social issues.
DO respect the privacy and grief of survivors.
DO include reference to their suffering.
DO tell others considering suicide how they can get help.
Vocabulary: The way we talk about suicide makes a difference. MORE >
DON’T shy away from writing about suicide. The more taboo, the more the myth.
DON’T romanticize the act.
DON’T jump to conclusions. Reasons why people suicide are usually complex.
DON’T suggest nothing can be done. We usually never know why people suicide.