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close this bookPreventing Suicide: A Resource for Media Professionals (WHO; 2000; 18 pages)
View the documentForeword
View the documentImpact of media reporting on suicide
View the documentSources of reliable information
View the documentHow to report on suicide in general
View the documentHow to report on a specific suicide
View the documentProviding information on help available
View the documentSummary of what to do and not to do
View the documentReferences
View the documentBack cover

Preventing Suicide: A Resource for Media Professionals

Original: English
Distr.: General

Mental and Behavioural Disorders

Department of Mental Health
Social Change and Mental Health
World Health Organization

This document is one of a series of resources addressed to specific social and professional groups particularly relevant to the prevention of suicide.

It has been prepared as part of SUPRE, the WHO worldwide initiative for the prevention of suicide.

Keywords: suicide/prevention/resources/ media/media professionals.

Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Department of Mental Health
World Health Organization

© World Health Organization, 2000

This document is not a formal publication of the World Health Organization (WHO), and all rights are reserved by the Organization. The document may, however, be freely reviewed, abstracted, reproduced or translated, in part or in whole, but nor for sale in conjunction with commercial purposes.

The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the responsibility of those


Media play a significant role in today’s society by providing a very wide range of information in a variety of ways. They strongly influence community attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, and play a vital role in politics, economics and social practice. Because of that influence media can also play an active role in the prevention of suicide.

Suicide is perhaps the most tragic way of ending one’s life. The majority of people who consider suicide are ambivalent. They are not sure that they want to die. One of the many factors that may lead a vulnerable individual to suicide could be publicity about suicides in the media. How the media report on suicide cases can influence other suicides.

These resources seek to outline the impact of media reporting on suicide, indicate sources of reliable information, suggest how to report on suicide in both general and specific circumstances, and point to pitfalls to be avoided in reporting on suicide.


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