9 Things The Media Should Avoid When Reporting On Suicide

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Playing 9 Things The Media Should Avoid When Reporting On Suicide

Dr. Phil says there is a need to exercise sensitivity when discussing death by suicide, so as not to glamorize the act or give rise to copycats.

When reporting about suicide, there are certain guidelines to follow. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, ReportingOnSuicide.org and other sources, don’t do the following:

  • Use big or sensationalistic headlines, or prominent placement
  • Include photos/videos of the location or method of death
  • Include photos/videos of the grieving family, friends, memorials, or funerals
  • Describe as inexplicable or “without warning”
  • Refer to suicide as “successful,” “unsuccessful,” or a “failed attempt”
  • Investigate/report on suicide as you would a crime, rather than health issue
  • Describe in strong terms such as "epidemic" or "skyrocketing"
  • Release the contents of any “note”, if left by the deceased
  • Use first responders instead of experts as source of the causes of suicide

If someone you know is is talking about or planning to take his or her life, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Source: ReportingOnSuicide.org

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