The importance of not publishing suicide locations

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The importance of not publishing suicide locations

Issue: Several news outlets published graphic details of a suspected murder-suicide in Queensland involving a man and his child. The online articles included exact location details, including images of the scene and screenshots of maps with the location pinned.

Result: StigmaWatch was successful in having prominent media outlets edit the content in their story to remove the location, images and maps for the safety of vulnerable individuals.

Why it mattered? Studies have shown that explicit or technical descriptions and images of methods or locations used for suicide have been linked to increased rates of suicide. Describing locations of suicide may promote these to vulnerable people and increase the frequency of attempts at these sites. If it is important to refer to a location, media outlets are encouraged to describe this in general terms only, for example “nearby park’ instead of detailing the exact location.

Last updated: 4 April 2019

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