Year: 2023 Source: Beirut, LB: American University of Beirut, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs. (2023). 18 p. SIEC No: 20231340
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 suicide contagion effects especially among vulnerable individuals such as youth, who are more susceptible to copying suicidal behavior portrayed in the media. The policy brief notes the often oversimplification of the causes of suicide by the media, neglecting the critical role of mental illness. The brief describes different time periods in the last few years which were associated with more media coverage and possibly correlated with higher rates of deaths by suicide in the weeks that followed. It also mentions the increase in media attention to suicide coinciding with the ongoing political and economic crisis in the country. The brief concludes with recommendations for journalists and media outlets, urging them to adopt responsible and accurate reporting practices while avoiding sensational details, excessive coverage, invasion of privacy, and misrepresenting the news of suicide.