Suicide Prevention Council
15 Green St., Concord, NH 03301
April 28, 2011
There is significant literature demonstrating that certain ways of reporting on suicides can lead to copycat suicides or contagion. Because of the amount and persistence of this research, media guidelines for the reporting of suicides were created and recently updated. On behalf of the Suicide Prevention Council, I am sending you the latest copy of these guidelines.
The guidelines do not recommend against the reporting of suicides. What they do is highlight some of the ways in which suicide is covered that can lead to an increased risk of contagion. These include listing the particular method and location of a suicide, a high amount of coverage close to the death, putting the story in a prominent location, and romanticizing someone who has died by suicide by featuring tributes by relatives and friends. There is also evidence in the literature that implementation of these guidelines by media actually decreases the rate of copycat suicides and the incidence of suicide.
Thank you very much for your consideration. Please feel welcome to contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance in reviewing the guidelines. Members of our Communications Sub-Committee can be reached through email@example.com.
Chair of the Suicide Prevention Council’s Communications Subcommittee