Media briefing on the death of Robin Williams

Samaritans' guidance for the media

Following the death of Robin Williams and ahead of the inquest, Samaritans is strongly advising the media to follow its guidelines for the reporting of suicide and the specific guidance on this case:

  • Be mindful that celebrity suicides have a higher risk of encouraging copycat behaviour, particularly if the media coverage is extensive and sensationalist.
  • Avoid explicit details of the suicide method e.g. do not state how the individual took their own life or what material was used
  • Do not portray a suicide as quick, effective, painless or easy
  • Where possible sensitively focus on the life achievements of the person and the wastefulness of their death. Try to refer to the wider issues associated with suicide, such as risk factors like alcohol misuse or mental health problems.
  • We would be grateful if you could include details of our helpline service: Samaritans is available round-the-clock on 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org

For further advice on the reporting of this case, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on: 0208 394 8300 or out of hours on 07943 809162.