Anna Shinoda

Responsibly Reporting on Suicide

Since Chester died, there have been countless articles written about him and his death – some speculative, some factual. Some are pure click-bait. Some are well-meaning pieces on depression or suicide prevention, but the writer or editor are not informed on the responsible way to report. These articles continue and as we approach Chester’s birthday and the one year anniversary of his death, I encourage anyone who is reporting on suicide – even if it is just for your blog or personal website – to take a minute to review and learn how to do so responsibly.

There are over 50 research studies done worldwide that show irresponsible reporting on suicide increases the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. Suicide contagion – or the increase of suicide or suicidal behaviors after exposure to a suicide – can be minimized with factual and concise reporting, as well as providing resources for help.

Reporting On Suicide

From ReportingOnSuicide.org

AVOID:

  1. Avoid repetition: prolonged exposure can increase likelihood of suicide contagion.
  2. Do not use sensationalist headlines.
  3. Do not report oversimplified explanations or make assumptions about why.
  4. Do not give detailed descriptions of how the suicide occurred
    • do not publish 911 calls
    • do not publish photos or videos of the suicide or of the scene of the suicide
    • do not publish suicide notes
    • do not publish the autopsy report in full
  5. Do not glorify or imply that the death was effective in achieving a personal goal.
    • do not publish photos of grieving family members or friends
    • do not publish photos of funerals or memorials.

INCLUDE:

  1. Hotlines, emergency contacts, mental health resources should ALWAYS be included.
  2. Consider quoting a suicide prevention expert on causes and treatments.
  3. Inform readers about the causes of suicide, warning signs, treatment options and advances.
  4. Consider including a story about someone who overcame a suicidal crisis.

By taking these steps, you will be part of the solution in helping reduce suicide contagion.  You will also be making a tragic situation more bearable for the suicide loss survivors. Losing Chester was painful enough on its own. Being exposed to sensationalist headlines, paparazzi and speculation on why he had died made it even more painful for his family and friends. Covering suicide should never be for entertainment, click-bait, or profit.

For more resources on reporting responsibly, visit the US Department of Health and Human Services or ReportingOnSuicide.org

In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine.
For support outside the US, find resources at http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

http://chester.linkinpark.com

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14 thoughts on “Responsibly Reporting on Suicide

  1. Pingback: Responsibly Reporting on Suicide — Anna Shinoda – THE BIG BUCK HUNTER 2018

  2. The effects of suicide are destructive in any family and friends. In my family we have had two family members pass through suicide. It must be so deeply painful for Chester’s wife, children, family and friends. I want to express my deepest thanks for the way you have educated others about signs of suicide and ways to gain help if you are struggling.
    I wish you love and strength with such a profound loss, Laura

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: For Anyone Who Might Need It ;) | Lebo's Journal

  4. Really thought this was well written and had great information on deal how to write about suicide in a respectful manner. I think to some articles say commit suicide which seems like mental illiness had no sayso whereas it should be died by suicide. Hopefully others esp social media will use your advice when approaching such a subject matter and be thoughtful of all those related.

    Like

  5. Thank You Anna, you continue to amaze us with your articles and wisdom. We Love You 💕😊

    Like

  6. It’s extremely sad to see the lengths journalists and reporters go to get a click-bait title. Reminiscent of grocery store tabloids. In my opinion, there should be responsibly and accountability for all reporting, not just suicide. It angered me so much to see the misinformed headlines after Chester’s autopsy was leaked.

    There is no doubt we need more accountability in journalism.

    Like

  7. Jennifer Yates on said:

    This is spot on. Sensationalizing these tragic events only prompts copy cats. Everyone wants their 5 minutes of fame. Completely destroying the reality behind what has occurred. Obscuring what the family is going through. Once again, awesome job!

    Like

  8. Suicide is a difficult topic, especially if you knew someone who made it. This post must have been difficult for you. I am glad that in any way I can contact you and write what I feel myself. I’m also happy that you wrote this post. You’re right that most of the media wants to make a fortune on such a topic, especially when it comes to someone known, and Chester certainly was one of those people. I hope that with the passage of time with you and your family and your loved ones everything is ok. Surely the loss you have experienced will never pass away, but life goes on and you have to live somehow.

    Like

  9. YoMarques on said:

    I can’t thank you enough for everything you, Talinda, the guys, have been doing for so many people. The world needs more people like you. We love you so much, and we’re here for you just as you’ve been here for us. ❤

    Like

  10. Hello Anna,
    Thanks a lot for this informational post 🙂 I’ll try to spread this message to as many as i can.
    Have a good day your side, Keep smilin’! 😀

    Like

  11. Anna thank you and Talinda so much for using your platform to educate! Exactly what we need in today’s society! Bravo sweet lady! Love you both!

    Like

  12. This seems thoughtful and helpful. Thanks for posting it. I would be puzzled though if I read that someone passed on and the article said ‘completed’. I don’t know how you mean to phrase it, but I’m not getting it. Thanks.

    Like

    • The photo of tips was from ReportingOnSuicide.org. When I put the post up I was working on my computer and that was clear there, but I just looked at the post on my phone and it is not as clear on my phone. Regardless, I think their point is that the word successful invokes a feeling of positivity. I agree that completed is a confusing term to use, so my suggestion would be to use “died by suicide.”

      Liked by 2 people

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