Responsible reporting on suicide has the power to save lives. How you shape a story will minimize suicide contagion for vulnerable individuals and increase awareness of this major public health issue.
Checklist for Responsible Reporting
Before submitting your story on suicide death, did you:
- 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 the life of the person versus 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?
- Consult a mental health or suicide prevention expert?
- List suicide warning signs and local resources?