Guidelines for safely speaking about suicide
It’s important to know the right way to report on suicide so that we don’t put people at risk or perpetuate myths
The way suicide related stories are presented in the news can have a serious effect on people who may be thinking about suicide, have previously attempted suicide or have lost a loved one to suicide.
Lifeline encourages all media who are reporting on the topic of suicide to be familiar with the following guidelines and resources:
Most importantly encourage people at risk to seek help and provide information about where to get help.
Quick tips for politicians and media
- Public figures such as politicians are well positioned to increase public awareness of suicide and advocate for suicide prevention.
- It is important to ensure that all public messages and comments are safe and life affirming and do not sensationalise suicide.
- Before publicly speaking about suicide, you need to consider whether your comments will increase community understanding of suicide in a safe, positive and non alarmist way.
Speaking with people that are bereaved with suicide
- People bereaved by suicide may be at risk of mental health problems or self-harm. Caution should be exercised when speaking with those who have lost someone to suicide.
Adapted from Mindframe – Reporting Suicide and Mental Illness – A resource for media professionals. 1
Safe and Effective Messaging for Suicide Prevention – Suicide Prevention Resource Center. 2
Lifeline encourages anyone reporting on the topic of suicide to be familiar with guidelines provided by Mindframe.