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APPC Hosts First Conference in Its New Building

New Media and Suicide Prevention

On August 25-26, the Annenberg Public Policy Center hosted its first conference in its new home on the Penn Campus. The event convened national media and mental health experts to discuss Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media (2001), consensus recommendations developed by APPC’s Adolescent Communication Institute (ACI) in partnership with national organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help journalists report on and educate the public about suicide more responsibly.

Since the publication of the media recommendations, people have increasingly turned to the Internet and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to network and obtain news and other information. With these new technologies and their potential implications for suicide prevention in mind, the group gathered at this kickoff meeting to evaluate whether and how best to update and revise the guidelines. The meeting was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in partnership with Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE ), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and ACI. Participants also included representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – the organizations that crafted the first version of the guidelines. Experts on suicide including Dr. Madelyn Gould (Columbia University) and Dr. Alan Berman (American Association of Suicidology) and representatives from online organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also were present for two days of presentations and panel discussions.

The group agreed to rework the guidelines, with ACI again involved in their development. The publication and launch of version 2.0 of the document is planned for next year, with a dissemination strategy to follow soon after.