Together We Give Hope

Media Centre

Media Advisory

The Crisis Centre of BC is available 24/7 over the holiday season
Distribution Date: December 3, 2020

(re)Imagining Suicide Intervention
Distribution date: October 6, 2020

Need to Talk? You’re Not Alone – World Suicide Prevention Day
Distribution date: September 2, 2020

‘Phones Matter: British Colombians seek a human voice when in crisis
Distribution date: March 16, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day – Media Advisory
Distribution date: September 3, 2019

Media Guidelines 

Crisis Centre staff are always pleased to help the media in any way they can. These media guidelines emphasize responsible reporting about suicide.

The Contagion Effect 

Research has shown there is a link between high profile media coverage of suicide and the contagion effect (copycat suicides). This coverage could include front page and simplistic headlines, repetitious coverage, and information about suicidal methods. Youth, who may strongly identify with the suicide victim, are at the greatest risk of being influenced by the contagion effect, especially if suicide is presented as a glorified or romanticized event. The more publicity a suicide story receives, the greater the increase in suicides. Responsible reporting of suicide can help prevent copycat suicidal attempts and deaths.

Media Reports Should Avoid:

  • Running stories about suicide on the front page or as the lead story of a news broadcast
  • Having a sensational or overly simplistic headline that includes the word ‘suicide’ 
  • Engaging in repetitive, ongoing, or excessive reporting of suicide in the news
  • Providing details about the suicide, such as how the suicide was completed or what messages were left by the deceased
  • Presenting simplistic cause-effect explanations for suicide, such as “Teen kills himself because he failed a test”
  • Glorifying suicide or people who commit suicide
  • Presenting suicide as a tool for accomplishing certain ends
  • Focusing solely on the suicide completer’s positive characteristics in a glorifying manner
  • Mentioning other past suicides as part of the news story or hinting at a suicide epidemic
  • Referring to a specific site or location as known for suicides, as well as providing information such as the height of a bridge or a cliff 
  • Dramatic pictures or videos, which can lead individuals to over-identify with the deceased
  • Having comments sections open on websites and social media. Social media requires particular caution when it comes to not glamourising suicide

Media Reports Should Include:

  • An educational component describing the warning signs for suicide and where to go for help (counselling services, a crisis line, mental health services)
  • Identifying the range of alternatives to suicide and providing a list of resources in the community, such as local mental health centres, crisis centres, family physicians, local hospitals, and support groups
  • Reporting that focuses on reducing stigmas about mental disorders/seeking mental healthcare and challenges common myths about suicide

Suicide Warning Signs

It is important to mention that while 80 percent of those who are considering, have attempted, or have completed suicide give off warning signs, 20 percent do not. Here are some of the warning signs that can present themselves:

  • Sudden marked changes in behaviour or appearance
  • Talking, joking, writing, or becoming increasingly preoccupied with suicide and death, e.g. “I might as well be dead”
  • Preparations for death, such as giving away possessions
  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Decline in school or work attendance/performance
  • Expressions of a sense of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Sudden losses, e.g. financial, relationship break-up, death of a loved one
  • Sudden changes in eating and sleeping patterns

How You Can Help/Where To Find Help

  • Ask a person directly if they are considering suicide. This will not ‘give them the idea,’ but rather shows that you care and are taking them seriously
  • Listen and provide non-judgmental support
  • Arrange for the person to get help, whether from a crisis centre, hospital, mental health centre, or another local resource
  • Do not leave a suicidal person alone
  • Do not agree to keep another person’s suicidal thoughts a secret

Consider use of language 

The terms and phrases used when reporting suicide are important. Inappropriate or careless use of language can sensationalise or glorify a death.

Do use 

  • A suicide
  • Taken his/her/their own life 
  • Ended his/her/their own life
  • Die by/death by suicide 
  • Suicide attempt 
  • Attempted suicide
  • Person at risk of suicide

Avoid using

  • Commit suicide 
  • Suicide victim 
  • Suicide ‘epidemic,’ ‘wave,’ ‘iconic site,’ or ‘hot spot’
  • Cry for help 
  • A ‘successful,’ ‘unsuccessful,’ or ‘failed’ suicide attempt 
  • Suicide ‘tourist’ or ‘jumper’

 

Media Contact: Jeffrey Preiss

Director, Development and Communications

604-872-1811 ext. 222  |  jpreiss [at] crisiscentre [dot] bc [dot] ca

Phone and email are typically monitored Monday-Friday during business hours

Media Contact

Jeffrey Preiss
Director, Development and Communications
604-872-1811 ext. 222  |  jpreiss [at] crisiscentre [dot] bc [dot] ca
Phone and email are monitored Monday-Friday during business hours

Stacy Ashton
Executive Director
sashton [at] crisiscentre [dot] bc [dot] ca
Email is monitored Monday-Friday during business hours