Resources for Journalists
Reporting on suicide is an opportunity to address the effects suicide has on families, friends, businesses and communities. It's also a time to take care to avoid a contagion effect where others attempt suicide. The Poynter Institute explains what suicide contagion is, and this press release review ways to decrease the risk of contagion.
A story about suicide should always note the warning signs of suicide, and should give local, state and/or national resources the public can turn to for more information or help.
Before contacting the Department of Health about a suicide-related article, please review these guidelines for safe messaging:
- ReportingOnSuicide.org is a website for journalists offers guidelines for reporting on suicide, examples of responsible reporting, links to suicide prevention experts, research on suicide and the media and a link to a free, self-directed course on suicide reporting.
- This 2 page PDF (PDF)summarizes the Do's and Don'ts of reporting on suicide.
- Watch this 5 min video by a journalist on how newsrooms can improve reporting on suicide.
- Media as Partners in Suicide Prevention (PDF) provides updates from previously published national and international suicide reporting guidelines, along with updated recommendations for reporting on suicide using social media.
- The Suicide Prevention Resource Center providesguidelines (PDF) that concisely sum up safe messaging on suicide prevention.
- The Carter Center offers aguide on behavioral health reporting (PDF) is useful when reporting on suicide and other behavioral health issues.
- ReportingMassShootings.org offers recommendations on reporting on mass shootings.
This free online course, Journalism and Trauma, will teach you how traumatic stress affects victims and how to interview trauma victims with compassion and respect.
For communities working with media partners
- Suicide and Mental Illness in the Media (PDF) is designed to assist people involved in mental health and suicide prevention to effectively communicate with the media about suicide, mental health and mental illness and to promote sensitive and appropriate reporting. It is part of Australia's suicide prevention strategy.