Media Guidelines for the reporting of suicide

Media guidelines for the reporting of suicide

Samaritans’ Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide have been produced following extensive consultation with journalists and editors throughout the industry.

They are aimed at those reporting suicide in any media, from factual description to dramatic portrayal.

About Samaritans Media Guidelines

Press Gazette recently published an article (which can be found here) on the important issues to consider when covering suicide in the media, written by IPSO complaints committee deputy chair Richard Best, which references the work of Samaritans' Media Office.

On average, over 6,000 people take their own lives by suicide each year across the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI).

Research shows that inappropriate reporting of suicide may lead to imitative or ‘imitational’ behaviour, so Samaritans publishes Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide and has been working with the media for more than two decades, providing expert advice on the portrayal of suicide.

The media can also help encourage people who are struggling to reach out for support and raise awareness of sources of help, such as Samaritans. It is important that programme makers consult with us to help make sure this is done in a safe and responsible way.

IPSO Blog: How the UK press takes reporting of suicide seriously

Lorna Fraser, Samaritans' Media Adviser describes speaking to editors as a "great opportunity to share our media guidelines and free training and advice services with local and regional editors this week, thanks to IPSO and Dept. of Journalism at Derby University. It’s really encouraging to see press placing such importance on responsible reporting of suicide."

You can read more about IPSO's work with Samaritans here.

Samaritans' guide for coroners

Samaritans published a guide for coroners in 2015. You can download it here.

Source of support

Samaritans offer confidential support around the clock to anyone that wants to talk through their problems. Only 1 conversation in 5 is with someone feeling suicidal. Common reasons to call us include:

  • relationship and family problems
  • loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement
  • financial worries
  • job-related stress
  • college or study-related stress

We also have a number of other sources of support offering specific advice: