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Media coverage of suicide


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I'm been thinking about the mindframe guidelines (that's for Australia, I think the Samaritans in UK have something similar) that educate journalists about sensitive coverage of suicide. Things like not graphically describing methods, using outdated terminology like 'committed suicide' or attributing causes of suicide as simplistic. They also list crisis hotlines after any article that mentions suicide or self-harm.

A Sydney newspaper article questions whether it has gone to far and is actually suppressing coverage of mental illness. Thoughts?

Have you ever been negatively affected by media portrayal of suicide? Do you think the guidelines should stay or do they need to be amended?

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I understand why they don't want to be graphic about it for fear that it might trigger others to commit suicide or give others ideas about methods. But it is outdated to say "commit suicide?" I much prefer "commit suicide" to "killed one's self." I'm so sick of people trying to change the English language to sugar-coat the realities of life. I also do think MI should be mentioned, but only if it is the cause of death (through suicide). Otherwise, people don't take MI like depression seriously. They don't know that it is a fatal illness. They think you can just snap out of it.

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I think not using 'commit' because suicide is decriminalized now. You 'commit' a crime.

And marriage. ;)

Actually, this is the first time I've read of any objection to the use of the term. I disagree. I'm waaay too tired of people manipulating the queens' English for politically correct motivations.

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maybe the remaining family should be the one to decide how much to disclose? i dunno. i know my family would want everyone to know why. but we might be anomalous.

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Hmm... if you killed yourself, would you want people to know, and to what extent? Would it be OK to put it in the obits? On the local news? What if someone in YOUR family committed suicide?

Mine would have "died unexpectedly" in the first sentence, and mention the cause after a few lines about my life and accomplishments. And I want them to say: "The 48 year old landed on her neck after she flung herself out of a second story window. The death was initially ruled an accident until a cleaning crew found a note written on an empty tampon carton."

(Not to be taken seriously. I'm not suicidal right now, and I don't expect to be suicidal when I turn 48 in 2036.)

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Well, I think to some extent, the "biggies" of suicide practices are pretty self evident. I have never read a book on how, but I could still list a bunch of ways, and I know everyone here could as well.

I have seen obituaries that say "Lost her life-long battle with Depressive/Bipolar/Schizophrenia." In fact, I see it more and more often. I see "suddenly," or "unexpectedly," but right now I think the popular "cover" death is "after a short illness."

If I committed suicide, I would expect my family to put it in the paper, because they know I am not ashamed of my illness, and if I died of cancer, I would expect them to put that in. My dad is a p-doc, and my husband knows my wishes. Bipolar is a fatal disease, that has to really be beaten into people's head. (I know the others are too, just talking about memememe).

I think "Commit Suicide" is better than "Killing yourself." People kill themselves during auto-erotic asphyxiation, and it isn't suicide. Suicide makes explicait the self harm, and I think "commit" is just a verb with nuance that catches the proper sense of the urgency of the act. As AM pointed out, you commit to marriage. I think it is just a verb that indicates strong action.

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