Please follow AFSP WA on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE. I’ll be tweeting personally from @AFSP_WA on a regular basis, along with Seth and Erin, with the goal of offering information and inspiration to fight suicide. I’d love your support, RTs and shares!
I’m excited about this opportunity to become more involved in the behind-the-scenes of social media, but also assisting with efforts to monitor the WA State news for media coverage of suicide.
One of the team’s goals is to work with and educate media about the importance of responsibly reporting suicide loss. Language matters big time when it comes to fighting the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness. So I’m asking for your help.
If you ever see a story in your local papers, online or on television that sensationalizes suicide, please let us know. You can tweet us @AFSP_WA or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For example, you may see stories following a suicide that describe the method, or perhaps the reporter downplays the complicated web of circumstances and emotional issues associated with mental illness. These types of reports help no one and might just hurt.
- More than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals
- Risk of additional suicides increases when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage sensationalizing or glamorizing a death
Covering suicide carefully, even brieﬂy, can change public misperception and correct myths, which can encourage those who are vulnerable or at risk to seek help.
Please know, there is a document available that includes comprehensive recommendations for responsible media reporting of suicide. You can find it HERE. You can also find suicide warning signs and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number HERE.
Being open about suicide is definitely not a bad thing. We all need to be alert to the possibility of suicide to help those struggling reach out for help. So another of our goals as the AFSP WA Media Team is to encourage and commend reporters who cover suicide and mental illness in an open, yet non-sensationalized manner. So if you see any powerful reports on suicide, we’d love to see those too.
Thank you so much as always for your support! I look forward to sharing more of our activities and invaluable information about suicide prevention with you.