Year: 2021 Source: Health Communication. (2020). Sep 1;1-8. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2020.1813953 SIEC No: 20210054

Media stories featuring stories of personal experiences of coping with suicidal ideation have been shown to decrease suicide risk, but it is unclear whether more impersonal awareness materials have similar effects. This study aimed to test the impact of impersonal educative news articles featuring interviews with suicide prevention experts. Because the impact of news articles may be determined by the articles’ pull quotes and headlines, we also aimed to compare the impact of two versions of the same suicide prevention news article. One version featured headlines and pull quotes highlighting the message that suicide is preventable, whereas the other version focused on the message that suicide is prevalent. In a web-based randomized controlled trial, n = 425 participants either read a news article featuring a prevention expert with one of the above versions of the same text or an article unrelated to suicide. Data on suicidal ideation, stigmatizing attitudes toward suicidal individuals, policy attitudes toward suicide prevention, help-seeking intentions, and assumptions on the prevalence of suicide-related behavior were measured with questionnaires. The assumed prevalence of suicide in the population was greater in both intervention groups than in the control group, but the articles did not have an impact on other outcomes, and there were no differences for variations in headlines and pull quotes. Impersonal suicide prevention articles appear safe to use and do not have an impact on suicide risk factors in general population samples.