The media can play a major role in educating the general public about suicide, but it needs to follow some guidelines in order to avoid promoting copycat behavior. Here are some tips for journalists:

  • Avoid detailed description of methods used, as these can trigger those who are vulnerable;

  • Word headlines carefully;

  • Be cautious about images;

  • Don't romanticize it. No "Romeo and Juliet" comparisons;

  • Listen to a specialist;

  • Focus on prevention by citing warning signs, risk factors, and what to do to help;

  • Add resources to your story (hotlines, crisis centers, webpages).

For more recommendations, click on the resources below:

  1. Reporting on Suicide (online).

  2. The World Health Organization's guidelines for media professionals.

  3. Suicide Media Reporting, by the American Association of Suicidology.

Appropriate examples of reporting about suicide:

My interview to KGW, in Portland/OR.

  1. "What lies in suicide's wake" (2019, NYT).

  2. ​"What happens in suicide's wake" (2019, CNN).

  3. ​"Survivors of suicide 'come out' to combat a national crisis" (2019, Washington Post).

  4. ​"Breaking the silence: research shows that we should talk about suicide" (2019, OPB)

  5. "How are Oregon lawmakers addressing youth suicide rates?" (2019, KATU

  6. "Breaking the silence" (initiative with several outlets from Oregon/US)

  7. "Nurse suicides: getting help before it's too late" (2019, Kpbs)

  8. "How to help youth currently in suicide distress" (2019, The Hill)

  9. ​"You are not alone: a documentary and suicide-prevention toolkit" (2019, Sentinel)

  10. "No one is immune to suicide. But there is hope" (2018, CNN series)

  11. ​"People who attempted suicide as youths trace their recovery" (2011, Toronto Star)

Listen to my podcast
Logo 20.png

HELP FIGHT THE STIGMA

© 2019 by Paula Fontenelle