Universally critical principles for depicting suicide include:
- Avoid sensationalizing suicide.
- Avoid a connotation of tragedy or heroism.
- Include no pictures.
- Make no specific mention of methods.
- Provide no simplistic explanations, because suicide is a complex process.
- Make the link between suicide and mental illness (for example, "died as a result of clinical depression").
- Report with the understanding that the vast majority of people with mental disorders are not violent, that suicide is preventable, and that help is available.
- Omit the phrases "commit suicide" and "successful suicide."
- Publicize help lines and other paths to get help.