My thoughts are with those affected by the recent deaths by suicide in Mount Vernon. Foundation 2 is working in conjunction with local school counselors and Grant Wood Area Education Agency staff to help area students, staff and families.
As we have been contacted by several media outlets, I would like to take this opportunity to provide several recommendations for reporting on suicide.
Dear media, please know that your coverage of a death by suicide can have a big impact and may have a negative influence on behavior by contributing to contagion. Appropriate coverage encourages those struggling with a suicide loss to seek help. I think that we can all agree that our shared goal is to work together to prevent suicide.
I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to read the following tips, taken from an article from the American Association of Suicidology website. I have attached the entire article to this page, or you may read it online here.
Photos or videos of the location or method of death
Describing recent suicide as an “epidemic”
Describing a suicide as “without warning”
Describing contents of a suicide note
Quoting police or first responders about the causes of suicide
Referring to a suicide death as a “successful suicide”
Inform the audience without sensationalizing
Use local crisis hotline phone number
Include warning signs and “what to do”
Report on suicide as a public health issue
Seek advice from suicide prevention experts
Describe as “died by suicide”
Most importantly, please offer hope. Suicide is complex but most causes, including psychiatric illness, are treatable. You are in a position to offer information and resources to other views that may benefit from calling a crisis line, meeting with a therapist, attending a support group or taking medication.
Thank you for working with us to save lives.