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Media Guidelines

Guidelines for reporting on suicide, information on fighting stigma in the media, and audio-visual materials on suicide from the SPRC Library

Adding power to our voices: A framing guide for communicating about injury
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Includes framing theory, message development techniques and vehicles for explaining public health statistics.


Copycats and social contagion
Samaritans [UK]: Summary of research related to media reporting and suicide contagion.


Entertainment education: Suicide among youth
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): From the Entertainment Education section of Communications at CDC. This fact sheet about how to cover the topic of youth suicide is written for TV writers and producers.


Fight stigma: Become a stigmabuster!
NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness): NAMI StigmaBusters is a group of dedicated advocates across the country and around the world who seek to fight the inaccurate, hurtful representations of mental illness.


Guide to engaging the media in suicide prevention
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and SPAN USA (Suicide Prevention Action Network): This 44-page guide teaches you how to serve as an effective media spokesperson and how to generate media coverage to create awareness of suicide prevention. The publication describes how to use television, radio, and print media and provides examples of press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, op-eds and more. It also gives tips for identifying appropriate media outlets, creating up-to-date media lists, and tracking your results.


Health policy communications
Kaiser Family Foundation: In this narrated slide tutorial, Jackie Judd, vice president and senior adviser for communications at the Kaiser Family Foundation, provides information and guidance on how to effectively communicate with the media. She also provides suggestions for how to frame key messages for print, broadcast and radio interview settings as well as other policy audiences.


Impact and value: Telling your program's story
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The purpose of this workbook is to help public health program administrators understand what a ?success story? is, why it is important to tell success stories, and how to develop success stories.


Media (SPRC Customized Information Series)
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC): Information for the media on recognizing and responding to warning signs, resource materials about suicide prevention, including programs and the role of media professionals in preventing suicides.


Media guidelines
The Samaritans UK: Guidelines from the UK for the media on how to cover the topic of suicide. Includes 2008 Media Guidelines for the UK and 2009 Media Guidelines for Ireland.


Media guidelines for school administrators who may interact with reporters about youth suicide
Maine Departmrnt of Health and Human Services: This brief manual explores how media accounts can actually serve as a suicide prevention tool by: assisting news professionals to report responsibly and accurately; using a media request for information as an opportunity to influence the contents of the story; emphasizing the importance of listing available community resources for individuals at-risk and describing what is being done to promote safety for vulnerable individuals in the aftermath of a suicide; and warning against the aspects of news coverage that may promote copycat suicides.


The media monitoring project - Changes in media reporting of suicide in Australia 2000/01-2006/07
Mindframe : The Media Monitoring Project involved a systematic investigation of whether there have been changes in the extent, nature and quality of reporting of suicide and mental health/illness during the life of Reporting Suicide and Mental Illness, a 2002 Mindframe report designed to provide guidance to media professionals reporting on these topics. This report presents the results of that investigation.


Mental illness and suicide: A Mindframe resource for stage and screen [Australia]
Commonwealth of Australia: This resource provides practical advice and information for people involved in the development of Australian film, television and theatre. It is designed to help inform truthful and authentic portrayals of mental illness and suicide.


Mindframe media [Australia]
Health Priorities and Suicide Prevention Branch of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: Australia's media guidelines and accompanying website on reporting on suicide and mental illness.


Picture this: Depression and suicide prevention
Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.: This is a guide for creators in the entertainment industry which addresses issues within the realm of depression and suicide prevention, as identified by mental health experts, advocates, policy-makers, and others working to improve public awareness about and reduce instances of depression and suicide.


Recommendations for reporting on suicide
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Released in 2011, the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide were developed by leading experts in suicide prevention and in collaboration with several international suicide prevention and public health organizations, schools of journalism, media organizations and key journalists as well as Internet safety experts. The research-based recommendations include suggestions for online media, message boards, bloggers, and "citizen journalists."


Recommended videos on suicide prevention by AAS
American Association of Suicidology (AAS): The American Association of Suicidology's recommended list of videos is compiled by an evaluation committee that reviews videos for different audiences according to specific criteria. A short description of the video is included, along with duration and ordering information.


Stigma watch 
National Mental Health Association: The National Mental Health Association�s Stigma Watch program tracks news and entertainment coverage of mental health issues for fairness and accuracy, with the goal of correcting and preventing stigmatizing advertising, television and radio programming, and print features. A form to report stigmas is available on this web site. Usually, NMHA responds to these events by contacting the offending organization or sponsors by phone and correspondence. Depending on the incident, NMHA will develop a more targeted strategy to seek the discontinuance of the ad or program.


Suicide and the news and information media: A critical review
Mindframe : This literature review focuses on studies that examine the question of whether media portrayals of suicide can lead to imitation. Five media types were included: newspapers, television, books, the Internet and mixed media.


Suicide contagion and the reporting of suicide: Recommendations from a national workshop
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): From Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 22, 1994 / 43(RR-6);9-18. In November 1989, a national workshop that included suicidologists, public health officials, researchers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and news media professionals was held to address general concerns about, and specific recommendations for, reducing the possibility of media-related suicide contagion. These recommendations, which are endorsed by CDC, outline general issues that public officials and health and media professionals should consider when reporting about suicide. These recommendations include a depiction of those aspects of news coverage that can promote suicide contagion, and they describe ways by which community efforts to address this problem can be strengthened through specific types of news coverage


Suicide postvention in the school community
Florida Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council: These 51 slides discuss considerations for postvention that involve all school personnel. Topics covered include contagion, risk identification, memorialization, and dealing with the media.


Suicidology listserv
American Psychological Association: This is a moderated discussion list of the American Association of Suicidology, which has a searchable archive from October 1997 to the present.


Talking about suicide and LGBT populations
Movement Advancement Project (MAP): A consortium of organizations issued these recommendations to guide both news and social media in safe reporting of suicide events among LGBT populations that may be related to bullying. The recommendations are intended to promote vital, thoughtful public discussion about the issue and prevent contagion associated with sensational language.

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