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How can the media report on suicide in a responsible way?

Many groups have developed guidelines for reporting on suicide. Virtually every country with a national suicide prevention strategy embeds a set of guidelines in its strategy, and mental health advocacy groups around the globe also have developed guidelines. With an eye to their audience's country and culture, reporters can make reasonable selections.
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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.