Handling the media

In the aftermath of a suspected suicide in a school, dealing with the media can add to what is an already stressful situation.

We would advise that you appoint a single media spokesperson for the school and discourage students and other staff from making public comments.

The media spokesperson should prepare a statement for the media and not deviate from it. Avoid giving details of the suicide method or any suicide note, or giving simple 'explanations' of the suicide such as '…was stressed about exam results'.

Do use phrases like:

  • A suicide
  • Die by suicide
  • Take one’s own life
  • A suicide attempt
  • A completed suicide
  • Person at risk of suicide
  • Help prevent suicide


Avoid phrases like:

  • A successful suicide attempt
  • An unsuccessful/failed suicide attempt
  • Commit suicide
  • Suicide victim
  • Just a cry for help
  • Suicide-prone person


Samaritans’ Media Guidelines

Samaritans has published guidelines for the media to ensure that reporting of suicide is sensitive and responsible. Samaritans’ media team can help support you and the family in handling the media during a crisis situation.

Contact the press team (including out of hours) on: +44 (0)7943 809 162.


Next Page

Find out about contacting the school community