Recommendations for Media Coverage of Suicide

Suicide is a serious problem in the United States. Over 30,000 Americans kill themselves each year. The rate of adolescent suicide has tripled since the 1950s. This problem is exacerbated by contagion produced by graphic portrayals in news and in fiction. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Annenberg Public Policy Center collaborated with several national organizations to forge consensus recommendations for media coverage of suicide. APPC has continued to disseminate those recommendations and has conducted research to ascertain the effects of the dissemination. The guidelines continue to be listed as a best practice in the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Registry funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Download the guidelines here: Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide

Holiday-Suicide Link: The Myth Persists

Despite the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s nine-year effort to debunk the connection, newspapers continue to perpetuate the myth that suicides rise during the end-of-year holiday period. According to an analysis of news reporting during last year’s (2008-09) holiday period, the proportion of stories that supported the myth remained at approximately the same level as during

The Holiday-Suicide Myth: Newspapers (and TV Shows) Return to Old Ways

One of the more persistent myths about the end-of-year holidays is that suicides rise during this period. According to a recently completed analysis of news reporting during last year’s holiday period, there was renewed repetition of this myth in newspaper reporting. Despite the sizeable drop that occurred during the preceding holiday period in 2006, newspapers

Holiday-Suicide Link: Newspapers Continue to Perpetuate the Myth

Despite no basis in fact, newspapers continue to report on the increased risk of suicide around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays. An analysis of newspaper reporting over the past seven years released today by the Annenberg Public Policy Center shows that this story represents about half of all holiday-relevant suicide reporting. Stories linking

Local News Coverage of Suicides Triggers More Copycats than National News Stories

News coverage of suicides by local television and newspapers is more likely to trigger suicide attempts in others than national news stories on the subject, according to a new study that tracked reporting and health statistics in six U.S. cities. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Communication, is the most