Jon S
Original Published Date: 
Monday, March 30, 2020

Full article published by The BMJ.

An international team of researchers including ARC Future Fellow, Associate Professor Matthew Spittal at The University of Melbourne, have conducted a meta-analysis of evidence on the association between media reporting of suicide and suicides in the general population. They have found that reporting about deaths by suicide, especially deaths of celebrities, is associated with subsequent short-term increases in suicide rates.

The research also captures, for the first time, major differences between previous studies which goes some way to explaining why the deaths of some celebrities are associated with large increases in suicide rates while others are not.

The authors of the research note that reporting about suicide is hard, and that many in the media profession do take time to reduce the stigma of suicide when writing stories on suicide. They recommend that the best way to deal with the harmful effects of media reports is guidelines for responsible reporting, which are widely implemented and promoted.

Photo credit: 

Image credit: Jon S-Flickr (CC BY 2.0).