Following extensive news coverage about the death of Hollywood actor Robin Williams, Mind has issued the following comment about reporting on suicide.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, said:
“We’re disappointed by reporting and headlines in many of today’s newspapers which contravene good practice set out by Samaritans guidance and Mind’s own advice.
“Mind issued a briefing to all newsdesks twice yesterday with information on how to report suicide in a responsible way as there is clear evidence that media coverage of suicide, particularly graphic language illustrating the method used, can lead to copycat deaths.
"It is important to note that some media coverage has been sensitive and this should be welcomed as we know that exposure for these issues can prompt people to seek the support they need as well as help to reduce the stigma around mental health problems.
“We will be contacting newspapers individually to take forward our concerns as well as the Press Complaints Commission."
Advice for journalists:
Following the death of Robin Williams we urge journalists to avoid excessive detail about method of suicide and to report responsibly and sensitively. Evidence shows that copycat suicides can occur as a result of extensive media coverage. We strongly advise journalists to avoid explicit details and to avoid sensationalist reporting.
For further advice on reporting suicide please visit the Time to Change website media advice pages
We also strongly recommend the Samaritans guidelines for the reporting of suicide.
Notes to editors:
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We're here to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support.
For more information, interviews or case studies please contact the Mind media team on T: 020 8522 1743 M: 07850 788514 E: [email protected] ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817
Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.