The quality of media reporting of suicide news in a high suicide state of India against World Health Organization guidelines: A content analysis study of major newspapers in Chhattisgarh

Objectives: Suicide rates in India are amongst the highest in the world, resulting in an estimated 250,000 suicide deaths annually, and suicide rates in the state of Chhattisgarh are more than double the national average. Responsible media reporting is one of the few  population-level suicide prevention interventions. To inform media interventions, the objective of our […]

Preventing suicide: A resource for media professionals. Update 2023

There is evidence that media reports about suicide can enhance or weaken suicide prevention efforts. Widely disseminated stories of death by suicide are often followed by more suicides in the population, while stories of overcoming a suicidal crisis can lead to fewer suicides. Media professionals are encouraged to focus on presenting stories of people who […]

Is the narrative the message? The relationship between suicide-related narratives in media reports and subsequent suicides

Objectives: When journalists report on the details of a suicide, the way that they contextualize the meaning of the event (i.e. the ‘narrative’) can have significant consequences for readers. The ‘Werther’ and ‘Papageno’ narrative effects refer to increases and decreases in suicides across populations following media reports on suicidal acts or mastery of crises, respectively. […]

Mental health media guide: The tip sheet

The Mental Health Media Guide is a groundbreaking and comprehensive resource to help content creators expand positive mental health portrayals. Entertainment media has the power to shift culture around mental health, influencing  audience perceptions and the way we speak up, seek help, and support others.

The Werther effect following the suicides of three Korean celebrities (2017–2018): An ecological time‑series study

Background The suicide rate in Korea was the highest among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) for 2013–2016 and 2018–2020. In korea, suicide was the leading cause of death among individuals aged 10–39, and the second leading cause of death for aged 40–59. Thus, this study aimed to examine the […]

Shaping a lifeline: Harnessing the power of Lebanese media to combat suicide in Lebanon

The policy brief highlights the role of media in reporting on suicide and its potential impact on suicidal behaviors. It emphasizes that responsible reporting can play a crucial role in suicide prevention by focusing on help-seeking and positive coping strategies. It also highlights the impact of detailed, explicit, sensational, and repetitive reporting on leading to […]

Nigerian newspapers coverage of suicide: Assessment of adherence to WHO suicide reporting guidelines

Context: Despite an increase in research evidence on media compliance with suicide reporting guidelines globally, evidence from Nigeria seems to be relatively limited. Aim: This study assessed the prevalence of World Health Organization (WHO) helpful/harmful suicide reporting cues in suicide stories reported by Nigerian newspapers in 2021. Setting and Design: The setting is the entire […]

Why do we report suicides and how can we facilitate suicide prevention efforts? Perspectives of Hong Kong media professionals

Background: The Hong Kong news media report suicide-related events more frequently and sensationally than Western countries. Little is known about Hong Kong media professionals’ experiences and thoughts about such reporting. Aims: To understand Hong Kong media professionals’ experiences and perceptions of suicide reporting and whether the news media can be better engaged into suicide prevention. Method: We conducted […]

Media guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide: A review of effectiveness

Background: The media have a powerful influence on those at risk of suicide. Evidence linking sensational media reporting with imitative suicidal behavior continues to grow, prompting the widespread development of guidelines for media professionals on the reporting of suicide. While such guidelines have been widely implemented, only a small amount of research has addressed their use […]

Media guidelines in the internet age

In recent years, there has been growing concern over the reporting by the media of those who die by suicide. Recommendations have been proposed by various groups, such as the Centers for Disease Control (1994), the World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) (WHO & IASP, 2008). In addition, scholarly research has […]

Media representation of gender patterns of suicide in Taiwan

Background: Extensive media reporting of suicide events has been indicated as a contributing factor to the upsurge in suicide rates in Taiwan in the past decade. Aims: The study compares gender differences in sociodemographic profiles and method of suicide selectively reported in the newspapers and all suicide cases registered in official death records. It also identifies gender differences […]

A longitudinal dynamic perspective on quality in journalism: Investigating the long-term macro-level media effect of suicide reporting on suicide rates across a century

Quality of journalism is not a stable phenomenon, yet there is limited longitudinal evidence. We provide a content analysis of news reporting over a whole century within a specific thematic context: suicide reporting. Quality is a key dimension in this context as low-quality reporting is associated with imitative suicides (Werther effect). We took a historical […]

An observational study of suicide-related media reports during the earl months of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic initially raised concerns about increased suicides, particularly due to stressors such as unemployment, financial strain, and social disconnectedness, however data from the earliest months of the pandemic generally showed no increases, including in three Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba) (see Supplemental file).1,2 Experts have recommended cautious media reporting about the pandemic’s […]

Media coverage and speculation about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide: A content analysis of UK news

Objectives Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much concern and speculation about rises in suicide rates, despite evidence that suicides did not in fact increase in the first year of the pandemic in most countries with real-time suicide data. This public narrative is potentially harmful, as well as misleading, and is likely […]

Current notice: Guidelines to discuss suicide on social media

On January 30, 2022, Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst died by suicide. The news of her untimely death spread quickly across all forms of media. Although well-researched media guidelines for safely reporting on suicide have existed for years, journalists broke important rules—such as detailing the method of suicide and including the contents of the note […]

Suicide reporting in the nineteenth century: Large-scale descriptive content analysis of Austrian newspapers

During the nineteenth century, suicide rates rose substantially in many countries, including the geographic region of the present state of Austria. Sensational news reporting about suicides may have contributed to this rise by eliciting so-called copycat suicides, a phenomenon termed the ‘Werther effect.’ We conducted a large-scale content analysis of nineteenth-century suicide reporting (N = 14,638) to […]

Short-term effects of media reports on terrorism that are consistent vs. not consistent with media recommendations on mass shootings: A randomized controlled trial

Objective Media recommendations for the reporting of events where one person or a small group kills multiple others in public settings have been developed recently by suicide prevention experts. Evidence on the effects of reports that are compliant or noncompliant with these recommendations is lacking. Methods We conducted a randomized controlled trial with n = 148 participants who […]

Cost-effectiveness of media reporting guidelines for the prevention of suicide

Introduction: Media guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide are a recognized universal suicide prevention intervention. While implemented in nu-merous countries, including Australia, little is known about whether they are cost- effective. We aimed to determine the cost- effectiveness of Mindframe, the national initiative implementing media guidelines in Australia. Method: We conducted a modelled economic […]

Violations of suicide-prevention guidelines in US media coverage of physician’s suicide death during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background: Healthcare workers are at elevated risk for suicide; though it has yet to be studied, this risk may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. News media coverage of high-profile suicide is associated with an increased risk of subsequent suicides. No analysis has yet been published of US media practices for reporting on healthcare worker suicides […]

Examining adherence to suicide reporting guidelines in initial reports on high-profile celebrity suicides

Background: Research has found varying adherence by media professionals to recommendations for reporting on suicide. Aims: We compared adherence to recommendations for what to do and what not to do when reporting on suicide in initial reports of high-profile celebrity suicides in major media outlets. Method: A total of 100 articles published in news outlets during 2004–2018 and reporting on […]

Celebrity suicide: Media recommendations for reporting suicide not followed

Background: Increased suicides following media coverage of celebrities’ suicide deaths have been documented in several countries. Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide were published to provide guidance for media professionals when covering suicide. Research indicates guidelines have been poorly followed. Aim: We aimed to determine whether the recommendations were similarly observed when studying two online news organizations’ coverage of a celebrity’s […]

Changes in suicide reporting quality and deaths in Ontario following publication of national media guidelines

Background: Media guidelines can influence suicide-related reporting quality and may impact suicide rates. Aim: Our study aimed to investigate the quality of suicide-related reporting after the release of the 2009 Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) guidelines and their impact on suicides. Method: A random sample of suicide-related articles (n = 988) were retrieved from 12 major Canadian print/online publications (2002–2015). Articles were […]

Social media responses to online suicide-related news articles

Background: Responsible media reporting of suicide is important to prevent contagion effects. Online media reporting is increasingly becoming the primary source of news information for many people. Aims: This study aimed to assess compliance with responsible media reporting guidelines, and whether social media responses were associated with compliance. Method: A random sample of Australian digital news articles over a 9-month […]