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Ohio Suicide Reporting Guidelines

Responsible reporting on suicide has the power to save lives. How you shape a story — the details given, words used and resources provided — will minimize suicide contagion for vulnerable individuals and increase awareness of this major public health issue. It is possible to report on suicide in a way that cultivates hope by increasing awareness of available supports and encouraging help-seeking for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Not only can journalists help shape the conversation about suicide, they can use social media to amplify key messages of prevention and recovery.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services engaged Nationwide Children's hospital in Columbus and the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens to create tools that could assist reporters and editors The result includes the resources below and a series of workshops at six Ohio colleges during Spring 2017.


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 OU Scripps Logo

Related Reporting and Prevention Resources

Before submitting your story on a suicide death, did you:

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

Click for a printable PDF of the Checklist.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Spanish speaking

Crisis Text Line
In Ohio, text "4 hope" to 741 741
Nationally, text "START"