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Reporting on Suicide

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:

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


Examples of Perspectives on Suicide

G Warner

Since Grace Warner’s brother took his life in August 2015, it has been her mission to tell this story. Two families, who were brought together by suicide, gave each other hope and strength. (Published October 30, 2017)

D Stage

Dese'Rae L. Stage and Denise Meine-Graham provide survivor perspectives in this production by the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital. (Published February 23, 2017)

N Young

Fall 2017 workshop on Reporting Suicide presented by Nerissa Young, Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and John Ackermann, Ph.D., Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Preventing Suicide

Individuals share their stories to heal and help others in crisis. This special report was published June 6, 2017, as part of NBC 10 Philadelphia's "Preventing Suicide Breaking the Silence" series.

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