Comment on "Newspaper coverage of suicide and initiation of suicide clusters in teenagers in the USA" in Lancet Pyschiatry

The first issue of The Lancet Psychiatry focuses on suicide research and prevention.

Commenting on "Newspaper coverage of suicide and initiation of suicide clusters in teenagers in the USA" by Dr Madelyn S Gould, New York State Psychiatric Institute et al, Rachel Kirby Ryder, Samaritans’ Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications, said:

“This study confirms a number of key theories about the role the media plays in the emergence of suicide clusters among young people. These findings mirror the patterns we see when reviewing coverage of suicides in the mainstream media in the UK. For example, suicide reporting in the aftermath of a young death seems to be more prominent, explicit and detailed with significantly more coverage of completed rather than attempted suicides.

“Samaritans first published our Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide more than two decades ago and we continue to work closely with the media on responsible reporting. This paper, and the comment from Professor Pirkis, highlight the importance of media guidelines in relation to reduced suicide rates.

“Both our media guidelines and the findings of this study, advise that factors such as romanticising and sensationalising coverage, may influence imitative behaviour. UK Media regulation on suicide currently focuses on restricting details of the method of suicide. However, it is clear that this doesn’t go far enough to address these broader risk areas. The suggestion that high volumes of suicide coverage could be a driver in 'imitational suicides’ has been a concern of ours for some time; more research is needed to fully understand these effects.”

"Newspaper coverage of suicide and initiation of suicide clusters in teenagers in the USA" in Lancet Pyschiatry

Comment on "Newspaper coverage of suicide and initiation of suicide clusters in teenagers in the USA" by Professor Pirkis