Suicide and the Media

We work with the Samaritans Media Advisory Service in assisting our local media to deliver information sensitively when reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Our aims are that:

  • People are not exposed to harmful content through inappropriate reporting and portrayal of suicide and instead see more hopeful messages around help-seeking behaviour, and positive stories of recovery.
  • Local news outlets have a better understanding about how to report suicide sensitively and safely, leading to fewer articles of concern being written.

Coverage of suicide can influence how people behave in a crisis and their beliefs about the options open to them. The media has a unique opportunity to inform and educate the public about suicide, encouraging important conversations, changing attitudes and behaviours and promoting help seeking. This can save lives.

Samaritans Media Advisory Service work with the NO MORE Suicide Partnership to engage local media in a responsible approach to covering the topic of suicide locally. They also monitor and analyse local news coverage of suicide, offering advice on cases of concern. This would be followed with an offer of Samaritans’ ‘Suicide in the Media’ training to local news outlets.

In 2020 Samaritans launched their revised sixth edition of their Samaritans Media Guidelines

Samaritans have created a new online hub of resources covering some additional topics to help journalists and programme makers further understand the issues surrounding suicidal behaviour and offering practical tips on covering these topics. These include; celebrity suicides, inquests, youth suicides, self-harm and suicide clusters, and covering these issues in documentaries and drama.

If you require specific advice contact [email protected]

Online Harms

Samaritans have launched an online harms advisory service, providing free and confidential specialist advice on issues relating to self-harm and suicide content online. The service is aimed at supporting online sites and platforms, as well as professionals working in the wider sector.
Contact [email protected] for more information.

An information sheet ‘Reducing access to harmful self-harm and suicide content’ can be found here.