Guidelines for Reporting Teen Suicide
HALIFAX, April 9, 2013 – Today there has been heightened media attention surrounding teen suicide. The loss of any young person to suicide is a tragic situation for the family and the community. While it is important to shed light on the issue of teen suicide and generate discussion about suicide prevention, I would like to take this opportunity to remind, and share with media outlets in Nova Scotia of the importance of adhering to already existing guidelines that have been developed to promote safe and responsible reporting of suicide.
The guidelines have been established by a number of credible organizations including the Centre for Disease Control, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and the Canadian Psychiatric Association. The sole purpose of these guidelines is to protect public health.
These guidelines are in no way intended to hinder the media’s ability to address stories about the issue of suicide. Yet, there is considerable research that demonstrates that specific types of reporting of suicide can increase copycat cases, particularly among youth and younger adults, a phenomenon known as suicide contagion. Additionally, there is evidence that when followed, use of these guidelines by media in their reporting on suicide reduces the risk of similar suicides and the rate of suicide in general.
I would like to share with you, for reference, the webpage address (http://publications.cpa-apc.org/media.php?mid=733) for the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide. I have also attached a brief synopsis of the guidelines for your review.
As part of such reporting what we would appreciate is information being attached to the report around what one should do in the event there is a contemplation of suicide, such as calling 911, Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or the Mobile Crisis Team at 429-8167.
Thank you for taking a moment to turn your attention to this concern.
Dr. Stan Kutcher,
Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health
IWK Health Centre
Advisor, Sun Life Financial Adolescent Mental Health
Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre
E-mail: [email protected]