Journalists, stigma and suicide.

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.

Making the tea for the guy that makes the coffee.

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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About Christine O.

I had been a young, single Mom to two girls for ten years; until March 9, 2014 when I married my soul-mate Jason. I’m a former 20 year+ full time executive in a demanding field turned business owner (this year); marathon runner, daughter to the perfect parents, oldest sister of a highly successful ‘normal’ younger brother and ‘functional’ single-mother (of 3) sister, coach, boss, best friend, member of the church choir, volunteer for the local NAMI, AFSP, and CASA organizations, and have over time become well acclimated to the world of mental illness after a life changing event or two. I have also become known in my community as the one who takes on the High School year after year in attempts to have a Suicide Prevention Program in place (as in Texas statute). My goal in writing, blogging and learning as much as I can about such subjects is to defeat stigma associated with brain disease, preventing suicide in the future, and saving my family.
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