Comment piece: the attempted suicides of Stephen Fry and Paris Jackson

Following on from the news about the attempted suicides of Stephen Fry and Paris Jackson, please find below a comment piece from Samaritans. It reminds people that suicide is a complex issue and urges anyone who needs to talk to contact Samaritans' helpline.

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said:
"Sometimes people get to a point where they feel they can’t cope, where it all gets too much to handle. They can feel worthless, trapped in their situation with no way out, and that the future holds nothing good for them.

"Sometimes it’s hard to talk to family or friends. People don’t want to burden those close to them, or they can feel ashamed or struggle to ask for help. During a crisis, talking to Samaritans may help people to feel calmer and get through that moment. Talking can help a person to see their situation in a different light and find help them to find a way forward.

“Samaritans can be contacted by phone, email or text round the clock, every single day of the year. Our volunteers are ordinary people and they provide a safe place to talk. Calls are completely confidential. When people contact us, they can be themselves - we won’t judge them.”  

If you are worried about someone do try and talk to them about how they are feeling. Some things to look out for in others are:

  • Being irritable or nervous.
  • A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating less than normal.
  • Drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual.
  • Being un-typically clumsy or accident prone.
  • Becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family.
  • Losing interest in their appearance. For example dressing badly, no longer wearing make-up, not washing regularly.
  • Making leading statements, such as 'You wouldn't believe what I've been through' or 'It’s like the whole world is against me'. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.
  • Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, for example 'Oh, no one loves me', or 'I'm a waste of space' "


Polite reminder to the Press

There is strong evidence suggesting that imitational suicides can occur as a result of extensive media coverage and if the reporting of the suicide method is detailed or sensationalised.

Please bear in mind Samaritans' media guidelines for the reporting of suicide.

There may be higher risk of unintentionally glamorising suicide in the case of celebrities or high profile individuals; therefore we strongly advise the media to follow our guidance.

For further advice on the reporting of this case, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on: 0208 394 8300 or out-of-hours on 07943 809162.