When suicide is in the news

Providing responsible information about suicide

Photo of a sun dappled valleyWhen famous people commit suicide, and breathless news reports glorify or confuse the situation, there is the danger that others will follow their lead.

Careful and sensitive reporting can reduce this risk, and providing straightforward information about depression and suicide can help suffering people find help.

If you are feeling suicidal here in the U.S., you can contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 to chat or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Suicidal feelings can be very isolating, and this lifeline exists to give people the support they need to make it through the despairing periods in their lives.

If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, please let them know that support and help are available immediately. We’re not alone.

The 988 lifeline is available in the U.S.; if you’re in another country, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has a list of crisis centers and suicide prevention centers throughout the world. Please reach out if you’re in pain.

See this post for more information on how to work empathically with suicidal urges: The Darkness before Dawn.

And to learn more about how to report on (or write about) suicides to reduce the risk of additional suicides, see these recommendations at reportingonsuicide.org

May we all learn how to reduce suffering in the world; may we all find peace and healing.

6 Responses

  1. S. Hinton
    | Reply

    Thanks for this helpful information. I think mental illness and depression need a lot more publicity. I heard just the other day that some people have to take medication to avoid depression. I didn’t know this and thought depression was entirely psychological.

  2. Diana Aldridge
    | Reply

    Wonderful information and help. Thank you!

  3. stevenjcallis
    | Reply

    Spot on…thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge.

  4. jo anne contreras
    | Reply

    I have lived most of my adult life with suicidal thoughts. This information is important for everyone to know. If you find yourself in this situation, or know someone who is, reach out, talk to someone, and remember you’re not crazy or alone.

  5. J. L. S.
    | Reply

    “Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their death and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of death.”

    Then why does it happen so often? Why do people that have sought treatment continue on the path that leads to suicide?

    If seeking professional treatment doesn’t help, then what? This is why so many believe that the person who is determined to end their life will do so at some point.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Hello and thanks to everyone for commenting.

      J.L.S., it could be that the medical help wasn’t focused well enough on the issues at hand, or that there wasn’t enough social support in the person’s life to help him or her transition through the depression.

      Severe depression is very tiring for a person’s body and brain, and it can create its own sort of spiraling thinking. Just visiting a medical provider may not be enough support. For people in the community, talking openly about suicide and checking in with people helps bring the situation out of the shadows, and helps people know that if the first thing didn’t work, there’s a reason to keep trying. It’s just hard to do when depression gets very intense — severe depression can sort of block out the sun.

      There are many, many people who have survived suicidal ideation. When people express the desire to end their lives, it’s not a certainty, and there are ways to help them come back from the brink. The suicide hotlines do this every day; the determination to end one’s life is not set in stone. People can and do survive suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, and they can get well again.

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