Your careful coverage can help save lives
It takes a special set of skills to investigate and record events in an engaging, poignant way. You and your editors have guidelines and deadlines to meet. With the subject of suicide, additional challenges surface. If the topic of suicide is covered well, your work may be helping save lives. If not, emotionally vulnerable people in the readership may become at higher risk for suicide. As prevention professionals, we offer you the guidelines for creating life-promoting stories:
- Always include a crisis contact at the end of the article. For example, “If you or someone you know is suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or the National Crisis Textline at 741741 any time of day, any day of the year.”
- You may also add, “Local help is also available through [insert name of local Community Services Board or Crisis Service]”. View map locations below.
- Request a live presentation on safe coverage about suicide and mental illness from your area Community Service Board Prevention Department (view map below).
- Try not to give coverage of a suicide undue prominence, like a front page headline.
- Avoid dramatic headlines declaring “suicide epidemic” or a “hot spots.”
- Avoid showing images of the site or method. Avoid describing the site and method in detail.
- Do not include Facebook posts or suicide note content.
- Do not minimize the complexity of suicide behavior by stating a “trigger” event or a single “reason” for the suicide.