Content matters in suicide coverage

The 2018 #Seatac air incident, it’s a timely reminder that media can assist in bringing to light a range of broader issues around suicide including risk factors such as mental health problems and protective factors such as normalising helps seeking.

When done safely, responsibly and sensitively, coverage that also focuses on personal stories about overcoming suicidal thinking can promote hope and may encourage others to seek help.

Stories which focus on suicide as a health and community issue can also contribute to increasing community awareness and effectively decrease the stigma such as tools available via the #YouCanTalk campaign on the Life in Mind community sections: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/communities

Coverage of the incident so far provides Mindframe with an opportunity to outline why disclosing explicit content can do the opposite, potentially generating a negative impact on vulnerable people that are already in distress and may normalise suicide for those at risk.

Mindframe is reminding media to exercise caution when deciding what information to include in a news story and consider the following actions:

Instead, encouraging safe conversations around anyone who may be having suicidal thoughts.

  • Seek comment from experts in suicide risk factors and wellbeing: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/reporting-suicide/story-sources-and-contacts
  • Ensure the correct advice and services are promoted (see list below)
  • Encourage your audience members at risk to seek help early for any psychological distress by normalising help-seeking behaviour.
  • For more information on reporting on suicide please visit Mindframe website or view the language guidelines & help-seeking information below.
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