Suicide prevention – new resource for media professionals

WHO/Malin Bring

It is a tragic fact that over 125 000 suicides are committed each year across the WHO European Region, with low- and middle-income countries in the Region having the highest suicide rates in the world. A further startling fact is that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds, after road traffic accidents.  Suicide mortality in the European Region is concentrated among the male population: 4 males for every female committed suicide in 2015.  And for every completed suicide there are many more people suicide attempts each year.

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed each year on 10th September.  This year, WHO also devoted its World Health Day to depression, a leading underlying cause of suicide, and has been running the year-long ‘Let’s Talk’ awareness campaign about depression and suicide.

In addition to raising awareness among the general public, there is a more specific need to support appropriate reporting of suicide in the media. Evidence suggests that the way suicide is portrayed in the media can either help or hinder suicide prevention efforts. To this end, WHO is releasing a new booklet entitled “Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals”, which provides guidance for journalists on responsible reporting on suicide.