Download document: Guidance for depictions of suicide and self-harm in literature
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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.
This guidance has been developed in consultation with the Society of Authors to provide helpful information for authors and publishers when covering these topics. The aim of this guidance is not to deter writers from covering the topics of suicide and self-harm; the aim is to provide evidence-based, useful information to help authors avoid content which could be harmful.
These guidelines are calm, knowledgeable and offer real context. They are not intended to be a step-by-step guide, but a practical resource to help authors make informed choices about their work. We hope publishers, editors and the wider industry will also learn from and share these guidelines.
Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive, Society of Authors
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Providing information on how to contact organisations where people can find support, including helpline numbers, can encourage people who are struggling and may be experiencing suicidal thoughts to seek help. This could save lives. The below video can be embedded in articles and other content, or alternatively use our helpline details listed below.
When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.