Media Reporting of Suicide
There has been international concern that media reporting of suicide can lead to an increase in suicides. A project was funded to see whether this was occurring in Australia. Data on over 4000 media reports were linked to data on suicides in the regions covered by the media reports. It was found that around a third of media items were associated with an increase in suicides.
Increases were associated with multiple reports on suicide, broadcasts on television (vs other media), and items on completed suicide (vs attempts or ideation) (Pirkis et al., 2006). Along with other related research, this project has influenced the Australian Government’s Mindframe National Media Initiative on responsible media reporting on suicide. Following this initiative, the quality media reporting on suicide in Australia was found to greatly improve (Pirkis et al., 2009).
Professor Jane Pirkis – Mental Health Grant (2003) University of Melbourne, Vic.