Media guidelines on the reporting of suicide

Pirkis, J, Blood, R. W., Beautrais, A., Burgess, P. and Skehan, J.. (2006) Media guidelines on the reporting of suicide. Crisis-the Journal of Crisis Intervention And Suicide Prevention, 27 2: 82-87. doi:10.1027/0227-5910.27.2.82

Author Pirkis, J
Blood, R. W.
Beautrais, A.
Burgess, P.
Skehan, J..
Title Media guidelines on the reporting of suicide
Journal name Crisis-the Journal of Crisis Intervention And Suicide Prevention   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0227-5910
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1027/0227-5910.27.2.82
Volume 27
Issue 2
Start page 82
End page 87
Total pages 6
Editor A.F.M. Kerkhof
J.F. Connnolly
Place of publication Gottingen
Publisher Hogrefe & Huber Publishers
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
321204 Mental Health
730211 Mental health
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Sciences
Abstract There is strong evidence for the existence of the Werther effect, or the phenomenon of an observer copying suicidal behavior he or she has seen modelled in the media. As a consequence, a number of countries have developed guidelines that promote responsible reporting of suicide. Using nine such guidelines as examples, this paper demonstrates that they tend to have similar content (emphasizing, for example, that suicide should not be,glamorized or sensationalized and that explicit descriptions should be avoided, and stressing the importance of providing information about help services), but differ in the way in which they have been developed (e.g., the extent to which media professionals have been involved) and implemented (e.g., whether their roll-out has involved a considered dissemination strategy). The paper also reviews the evidence from evaluations of media guidelines, and concludes that it is too limited to determine whether the guidelines have had an impact on the behavior of media professionals or on completed and attempted suicide rates. It makes recommendations for further evaluative work, and suggests that the lessons from well-designed evaluations should be shared.
Keyword Werther Effect
Copycat Suicide
Suicide Contagion
Psychology, Multidisciplinary
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 08:55:22 EST