Recommendations for safe and sensitive reporting include waiting for confirmation from official sources that a death is a suicide. Media should also refrain from speculating about motivation or the events leading up to a person’s death. Suicide is complex and those who die by suicide are likely to have multiple risk factors affecting them and fewer protective factors to mitigate those risks.
The Mindframe team reminds media professionals of the importance of avoiding the inclusion of explicit information that may be harmful to vulnerable audiences. This includes detailed descriptions of the method of suicide, as it may lead to imitation and an increased risk of distress to vulnerable community members.
With 2020 drawing to a close, we would like to thank everyone who has engaged with Mindframe this year and worked to ensure responsible reporting and communication about suicide, mental ill-health and Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD).
While the unexpected death of Melinda Coleman, mother of Netflix star Daisy Coleman, is a story of public interest and will receive ongoing coverage, it is important media report responsibly.
The Awards program recognises the best work of student journalists in Australia. Each year Mindframe presents two prizes for safe and responsible mental health and suicide prevention reporting to an undergraduate and postgraduate recipient.