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Read our media guidelines for reporting suicide to find out how to cover suicide and self-harm safely.
Research evidence shows that certain types of media depictions, such as explicitly describing a method , sensational and excessive reporting , can lead to imitational suicidal behaviour among vulnerable people. In contrast, coverage describing a person or character coming through a suicidal crisis can serve as a powerful testimony to others that this is possible, and can encourage vulnerable people to seek help. Samaritans’ media guidelines for reporting suicide offer practical advice on how to reduce the risk of media coverage negatively impacting on people who may be vulnerable.
Download the guidance below, also available for Ireland and bilingually in Welsh.
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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.
There is abundant international evidence that media reporting and portrayal of suicide can be extremely influential. Poor media practice can cause further loss of life, especially in more vulnerable groups such as the young and people with mental health problems. On the other hand, careful and responsible media handling of this important issue can contribute to suicide prevention.
Professor Keith Hawton, Director, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford
For a full list of all the academic research used to inform our guidance please contact: [email protected]
Samaritans’ media advice team is available to support journalists and to answer questions relating to coverage of suicide at [email protected]