Details and coverage of suicide can contribute to copycats

All of us, including the news media, can play an important role in preventing suicides.

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2018 Contact: Joy Alexiou                                                                                 
Public Information Officer                                                                                              
408-885-4164

Santa Clara County, CA. Research has shown that when there are numerous stories on a suicide, with details of the suicide, it can contribute to additional “copycat” suicides. The reasons why suicides happen are complex and not always clear. For vulnerable and at-risk individuals, the content and volume of media coverage can be factors that lead to more suicidal behavior.

All of us, including the news media, can play an important role in preventing suicides.

Reporters & News Organizations

  • ​Review the Recommendations for Safe Reporting on Suicides.
  • Do not provide the details of a suicide, e.g. the method used for suicide, or details of suicide notes.
  • Use language that helps to reduce stigma around mental health issues. People "die by suicide" or “completed suicide,” not "commit suicide." The word “commit” relates to committing a crime or sin. When also used with suicide, this word adds to the stigma around mental health.
  • Always provide resources for immediate assistance for those struggling with suicide.

Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis Hotline

855-278-4204

Community Members

  • ​Get trained in identifying and supporting people at risk. Question. Persuade. Refer (QPR) is a FREE online or in-person suicide prevention training, available to anyone 18 years of age or older who lives or works in Santa Clara County. This training covers the myths and facts related to suicide, warning signs of suicide, how to ask Questions, how to Persuade someone in crisis to seek help, and to Refer them to resources.  This and other trainings can be found at  www.sccbhsd.org/suicideprevention.
  • Know the signs. Every day in California, friends, family and co-workers struggle with emotional pain. And, for some, it's too difficult to talk about the pain, thoughts of suicide, and the need for help. Though the warning signs can be subtle, they are there. By recognizing these signs, and knowing how to start a conversation and where to turn for help, you have the power to make a difference – the power to save a life. Go to www.suicideispreventable.org​.
  • Encourage family and friends in crisis or thinking about suicide to make use of mental health resources.

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