Some 800,000 people commit suicide each year and the media play an important role in responsible reporting of those deaths and contribute to their prevention

September 5, 2017 0 By Renan W. Silva

Some 800,000 people commit suicide each year and the media play an important role in responsible reporting of those deaths and contribute to their prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.


On the occasion of the International Day for Suicide Prevention, which is being held on Sunday, WHO has updated its media guide because it believes that journalistic information can “improve or hinder prevention efforts,” said Dr. Alexandra Fleischmann, of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

The scientist stated in a press conference that it is important to work in prevention with the media and not only talk about what they should not do, so that the press can convey the message that suicide is not taboo and that ” you can talk about it and get help. ”

According to this expert, every 40 seconds there is a suicide and for each of them there are another 20 attempts.

Suicides occur in all age groups and in both sexes but generally affect young people aged 15-34, and in the 15-29 age group it is even “the second leading cause of death” doctor.

The guide recommends providing accurate data on where to look for and finding help, reporting personal stories about coping with difficult life situations or suicidal thoughts, and applying a special caution to celebrity suicide news.

The WHO also recommends taking care when interviewing relatives or close relatives affected by a suicide, as they can be a good source for educating others about the realities of these deaths, but they are in a situation of crisis and mourning that must be respected.

According to WHO guidelines, at least six people are directly affected by each suicide.

The document also asks the print and digital media not to highlight suicide reports on the front pages or at the top of the pages and to televisions and radio stations that do not open their bulletin boards with suicides.

In addition, WHO believes that reporters should not use sensationalist language or normalize suicide, nor present it as a constructive solution to problems.

He also argues that it is best not to explicitly describe the method used to commit suicide or the precise place where death occurred.

The organization also points out that the use of photographs, videos or digital links that collect the suicide scene should be avoided and, if graphic material is used, be obtained from the family.

Fleischmann said that suicide prevention, recognized as an important public health priority and whose reduction is part of the WHO action plan and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, requires a “comprehensive response from different sectors and levels” .

He explained that the risk factors are depression and disorders associated with alcohol, drugs, violence, trauma, losses and situations of conflict, as well as bullying.