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Why minimising details matters

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Issue: A national news website featured an article on its homepage which explicitly detailed the methods used by five people used to take their own lives. It also used the phrase ‘committed suicide’ several times.

Result: The article was edited to remove suicide methods and the term ‘committed suicide’ in line with recommendations provided by StigmaWatch.

Why it mattered: Reporting explicit detail about method has been linked to increases in the use of that method and overall suicide rates. To help ensure stories about suicide don’t negatively impact on people who are at risk of suicide, journalists should minimise details about method and location. The prominence of a suicide-related story should be reduced wherever possible, particularly if it has the potential to become sensationalised due to unusual or dramatic circumstances

Last updated: 7 March 2018