For the Media: Recommendations for Reporting on Suicides
Recommendations for Media Reporting on Suicide is a newly released set of guidelines to help journalists write safely and responsibly about this complex issue.
Included in the updated recommendations is advice for online journalists including bloggers, message board forums and moderators, and “citizen journalists.”
“Suicide takes a devastating toll on our Nation, communities, and individual lives,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These new recommendations will help journalists in their efforts to broaden public understanding about this national tragedy and what may be done to prevent it.”
Along with a group of suicide prevention experts, researchers, and journalists, developers of the recommendations include SAMHSA, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). The recommendations are based on more than 50 research studies.
“Research shows that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is through safe media reporting," said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of SAVE.
The recommendations include common suicide warning signs, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number (1-800-273-TALK), and advice on what to do if someone is at risk.
"We understand that media reports about suicide are sometimes newsworthy and informative for the public, but we also know that certain ways of reporting about suicide can unintentionally contribute to further suicides," said Robert Gebbia, Executive Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Recommendations for Media Reporting on Suicide is available online. Links to supporting research, media examples, and further tips for online new sites and bloggers are also included on the website.
For more information about suicide prevention, visit SAMHSA’s website. Suicide prevention is included in several of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives, including Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness.
Read the recent SAMHSA press release on this topic.
Read the warning signs. Download a wallet card. (PDF, 114KB)