Samaritans' media guidelines

Samaritans’ media guidelines for reporting suicide and online resources reinforce industry codes of practice, supporting the highest standards of coverage of suicide.

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Samaritans' media guidelines for reporting suicide

Our guidance offers practical advice and tips on how to safely cover the topic of suicide in the media. Download our media guidelines and read our best practice tips here.

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10 top tips for reporting suicide

These 10 top tips and Samaritans’ resources for journalists reinforce industry codes of practice to support the highest standards of safe coverage of suicide.

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Guidance for reporting on inquests for England, Wales and Ireland

Information and conclusions shared during an inquest can offer an opportunity to aid understanding of some of the issues surrounding suicide.


Guidance for reporting suicides involving novel methods

The naming of novel suicide methods in media reports has been linked to increases in the use of these methods, resulting in increases in suicide deaths.


Guidance for reporting on self-harm and suicide content online

When covering online content in news reports journalists should minimise any potential harmful effects on audiences by avoiding signposting vulnerable people to websites or forums which may contain dangerous content.


Guidance for reporting on celebrity and high profile suicides

When a death or suicide attempt involves a celebrity or high-profile person there is a greater likelihood of others identifying with the person.

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Guidance for covering youth suicides, clusters and self-harm

Young people are particularly vulnerable in relation to media coverage of suicide and self-harm, care should be taken when covering these topics with a young audience.

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Guidance for reporting on rail suicides

Suicides on the railways are public incidents and because they may disrupt travel services, media interest is commonplace, particularly from local news outlets.

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Guidance on reporting suicide for broadcast media

The wide reach of broadcast material, including online, as well as the diverse audience it attracts, makes responsible approaches to covering suicide particularly important.

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Guidance for working with people bereaved by suicide

If a death by suicide is considered to be in the public interest, journalists may wish to speak with family members and friends.

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Guidance for reporting on murder suicides

Murder-suicide incidents are rare but their impact can be widespread. Family, friends, neighbours and witnesses may be traumatised in the aftermath.


Guidance for covering suicide and self-harm in documentaries

Documentaries can inform and educate the public about suicidal behaviour, including the signs which may indicate a person is struggling to cope, and encourage important conversations and help seeking.

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Guidance for portrayals of suicide and self-harm in drama

When suicide is featured in drama and literature, as with all other media depictions of suicide, care should be taken to avoid content which could be harmful to vulnerable people.


Guidance for depictions of suicide and self-harm in literature

Suicide is a major public health concern and therefore a topic of public interest. It often features in mainstream media and in literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

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Suicide facts for journalists

Suicide is a complex topic, these facts will help you understand more about suicide in the UK, including who is most at risk from media coverage.

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Samaritans' media guidelines e-learning

Our new e-learning programme has been developed for journalists and programme makers covering suicide and self-harm in the media.


Codes of practice

Find out which Ofcom and IPSO codes relate to media coverage of suicide.

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Bilingual media guidelines

Our Media Guidelines for reporting suicide are also available in Welsh.


Suicide risk in specific communities

When done responsibly, highlighting increased risk factors in specific communities can raise awareness and encourage life-saving conversations.

Media guidelines in Ireland

Samaritans’ media guidelines for reporting suicide for Ireland offer practical advice on how to reduce the risk of media coverage negatively impacting on people who may be vulnerable.

View the media guidelines and online resources for Ireland