Revealing Explicit Suicide Details Leads To More Suicides - Mental health experts say reporting on the explicit details of a high profile suicide can lead to more suicides.
Suicides jumped ten percent, for instance, after Robin Williams' 2014 suicide. It's a concern once again following media coverage of the suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade, which involved everything from the details of the note she left behind, the method she selected and images of her body being wheeled away.
John Draper, head of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said while these celebrity deaths can't be ignored, the media should consider what they report about it. When people who are on the fence about killing themselves read these stories, it spurs them to make an often deadly decision.
Kelly McBride, vice president at The Poynter Institute and the organization's resident expert on suicide reporting, says these are the mistakes the media makes:
- Excessive detail, including the method and the contents of her suicide note.
- Photos showing Spade's body being transported on a gurney.
- Sensationalizing the story by including the means of death (suicide by hanging) in headlines. "If you feel compelled to state the means of death ... you need to do it in a way that doesn't make it the focal point.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says on average, there are 123 suicides per day. For every one person who commits suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline says there are 280 people who think about it.
Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741 to get help.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Walk-In Counseling Center: Free counseling available at multiple locations in Minneapolis & St. Paul www.walkin.org
Twin Cities Mental Health and Couples Center: Contact Twin Cities Mental Health & Couples Center at two Minneapolis & St. Paul locations: Lake Elmo/Woodbury 55042 & St. Paul 55113. 651-322-2333
Stark Mental Health Clinic: Supporting mental health and wellness in our community thought collaboration and integration of care (612) 872-2000
Make It OK: Dedicated to helping reduce the stigma of mental health www.makeitok.org