August 28, 2015

In light of recent events in Virgnia and the ensuing coverage, please be mindful of vulnerable readers/listeners who might be in crisis when they read your stories, particularly when the content is distressing. Coverage should not be sensationalised, should emphasise the consequences of the event for others, and list sources of help. 

  • Avoid sensationalism: Even when a suicide follows a violent incident, it should be treated with the same level of sensitivity. Respect for the individuals being reported on, as well as those in your audience affected by suicide and mental health problems, should be a primary consideration at all times.
  • Avoid graphic detailThe graphic nature of reporting can be particularly difficult for people in distress. There is also evidence that it can trigger copycat cases: the effects of exposure on suicidal behaviour and violence are well-documented. (See Walker and Petrie, 2013)
  • Include support service details:  is the national support service directory and Samaritans are there to listen 24/7 on 116123. 
Headline would be happy to provide  training or simply advice on the issues involved in reporting on these important issues. Contact 01 8601549, or  @HeadlineIreland