The importance of including help-seeking in news articles

The busy festive period is a timely reminder that media play an important role in bringing to light the significance of help-seeking behaviour and the variety of pathways that are available.

Evidence shows that people are more likely to seek help when appropriate services are included in stories referencing suicide.

With the emergence of 24/7 texting services, downloadable resources and online community forums there is a wider network of help-seeking that extends beyond calling a support line or meeting with a counsellor.

As a journalist it’s about understanding your audience and knowing how to incorporate these emerging help-seeking pathways into communications. This will in turn allow someone to reach out for support in a way that suits their individual needs.

Stories which focus on personal accounts of overcoming suicidal thinking promotes hope and contributes to increasing community awareness about suicide and the impacts on those most vulnerable.

The rise of social media shares online content faster and easier than ever before. It’s easy to remain anonymous and view international content, making it increasingly difficult to monitor problematic content and ensure help-seeking is included.

When including help-seeking into reporting or communications, consider tailoring the information to suit different media channels, empowering the audience to reach out for support if and when they need to.

Examples of adapting help-seeking include:
  • Print stories - List at least two 24/7 crisis services with telephone numbers.
  • Radio - Mention the name of two services. If space allows, mention the telephone numbers as well.
  • Online stories - List at least two crisis services with telephone numbers as well as other relevant sources of information with direct links to the services.
  • Television - List at least two services people can access in the crawl or news ticker and reinforce with audio.
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