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JAELEA SKEHAN Presentation Mindframe. Talking about suicide: Supporting safe and responsible reporting of suicide in the media.

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Presentation on theme: "JAELEA SKEHAN Presentation Mindframe. Talking about suicide: Supporting safe and responsible reporting of suicide in the media."— Presentation transcript:

1 JAELEA SKEHAN Presentation Mindframe

2 Talking about suicide: Supporting safe and responsible reporting of suicide in the media

3 A leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians Based in Newcastle, New South Wales – Established locally, working nationally Hunter Institute of Mental Health

4 Talking about suicide – Rates and trends in Australia Conversations Matter – How can we talk about suicide safely and effectively in communities? Mindframe National Media Initiative – Risks and opportunities of media reporting suicide – Working with the media Overview

5 Talking about suicide

6 When talking about suicide, it is important to be accurate and know about the most reliable and current information. How much do we know about current rates of suicide in Australia?


8 So what are the suicide trends in this country? Is the problem getting worse?


10 Suicide is an important issue of community concern Often confusion about what is meant by “discussing” or “talking about” suicide, and confusion about the evidence Need to ensure we are not “too afraid” to talk about suicide, while respecting and understanding the risks. Talking about suicide

11 We know: Talking to someone, one-on-one, directly about suicide will not increase their suicide risk (although the empirical evidence is weak); Media reporting of suicide deaths has been associated with increased risk for those who are vulnerable to suicide; We don’t know: Whether group presentation about suicide will increase or decrease suicide risk (e.g. evidence from schools); Whether more general media reporting about suicide (or awareness campaigns) will increase or decrease risk. What we do and don’t know

12 Practical online resources to support safe and effective community discussions about suicide. The resources assist communities and professionals when: – They want to know how to talk about suicide more generally – They are worried about someone and want to know what to say – There has been a death and they want to know how best to handle individual and community level conversations

13 The Mindframe National Media Initiative collaborates with the Australian media and other sectors to encourage responsible, accurate and sensitive portrayal of mental illness and suicide. With the aim of: Promoting suicide prevention and mental health promotion Reducing risk to audiences Decreasing stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. Mindframe National Media Initiative

14 The Mindframe Approach

15 Potentially includes 4 broad groups: 1.Not affected and not interested 2.Some level of interest; 3.Vulnerable, at risk 4.Bereaved. Understanding the target audience for media about suicide

16 Reporting about suicide deaths has been associated with increased rates of suicide and suicide attempts using the same method or location and increased rates of suicide overall. People vulnerable to suicide may be drawn to stories about suicide and negatively impacted by these. Impact of media reporting of suicide

17 Risk generally increases when reporting: Details method and location Sensationalises suicide Is prominent and repeated Focuses on an individual who has died (especially celebrities) Glamourises or glorifies the death Impact of media reporting of suicide

18 Reduce risk by supporting media to: – Report on method in general terms only e.g. ‘cocktail of drugs’ instead of detailing type and quantity of medication – Remove specific details about new or unusual methods – Describe location in general terms only e.g. ‘at a nearby park’ rather than detailing the exact location – Avoid use of detailed or dramatic photographs or footage e.g. images of people standing on ledges or implements used to cause harm Method and location

19 Language

20 The media has a role to play in raising awareness of suicide as a public health issue and prevention behaviour To decrease risk it may be helpful to: Provide context Frame suicide as a tragic, avoidable loss Focus on the negative impact on others Explore stories of overcoming suicidal ideation Promote help-seeking information Media’s role in suicide prevention

21 Helpful messages can include: – Increase understanding of risk factors and warning signs – Information about social and emotional wellbeing – Stories of hope and recovery – Information about support that is available Working with the media

22 Helpful messages can assist to: Improve community understanding Correct myths and stereotypes Reduce the fear, shame and stigma Increase understanding of the challenges experienced by someone living with a mental illness or caring for someone with a mental illness Encourage people to seek help Working with the media

23 Media, mental health and suicide prevention sectors are already highly engaged Additional considerations: – Two way communication – Duty of care – User-generated content – Live blogging of events – International media Different reporting standards Social Media

24 Supporting the media is essential in suicide prevention As social media continues to grow so must the sector (including research) Look after yourselves Discussing these issues can be distressing. If you need support speak to someone you trust or contact a support service Lifeline 13 11 14 Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 Final words

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