Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide | American Association of Suicidology
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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SUICIDOLOGY
Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business
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Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide

Click here to download the American Association of Suicidology's full "Suicide Reporting Recommendations: Media as Partners Toolkit."

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Suicide is a public health issue. Media and online coverage of suicide should be informed by using best practices. Some suicide deaths may be newsworthy. However, the way media cover suicide can have an impact.

As media professionals, we know how powerful words can be. When reporting on suicide, using the right words and tone can encourage readers and viewers to seek help for themselves or get involved in supporting others. By contrast, sensationalistic or graphic reporting can be dangerous for those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, and may reduce the likelihood that they’ll seek help. Before submitting your story on a suicide death, check that you did the following:


  • Use preferred language (e.g. "died by suicide" or "took his/her own life;" not "committed suicide").
  • Use objective, non-sensationalistic language to describe the suicide death.
  • Exclude details about method, location, notes or photos from the scene.
  • Focus on life of the person rather than the death and method.
  • Frame suicide as a preventable form of death.
  • Indicate that suicide is always caused by multiple factors.
  • Convey that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not weaknesses or flaws and can be reduced with support and treatment.
  • Ensure all links contain reliable information.
  • Include a list of suicide warning signs and local resources for those in crisis.

*Checklist and toolkit based off of Ohio Suicide Reporting guidelines

   
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