It is so important to tell the tale of the mentally ill and how those who don’t seek treatment or those that are just too sick to be successful in treatment can be lost. Not unlike cancer, these illnesses can be fatal. Media has the power to use their exposure to get great information about treatment and warning signs out during times of tragedy. Wonderful stories of healing and overcoming the pain of these afflictions exist also and it would be amazing to see more of that reported in conjunction with the reports of the ones we have lost. Why not do some good when you can? Interesting information on media and reporting practices as related to covering suicide.
The reporting of suicide has long been one of the most sensitive aspects of journalism for journalists.
The biggest issue with detailed reporting of suicide in the media is the risk of copycat suicides; suicides where the victim carries out their own death in the same (or a similar) manner to a suicide published by the mainstream media.
Journalists have to deal with a wide range of problems including defining what is in the public interest to report, intrusion into personal grief of the loved ones and relatives of the deceased and the danger of sensationalising suicide itself.
Many suicide prevention and mental health support groups such as The Samaritans and even the Health Service Executive (HSE) have published media guidelines on the reporting of suicide to try and ensure that reporters treat the subject of suicide appropriately and do not cause additional harm to those affected by suicide.
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