Reporting suicide guidance

This guidance provides editors and journalists with a framework for thinking through issues around the reporting of suicide and includes examples of relevant decisions by IPSO’s Complaints Committee.

 

Relevant Clauses

Clause 1 - Accuracy
Clause 2 - Privacy
Clause 4 - Intrusion into grief or shock
Clause 5 - Reporting suicide

Link to Editors' Code

External resources

Other organisations offer guidance on reporting suicide that you may wish to consult.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

press@thecalmzone.net

Samaritans is national charity which provides 24/7 emotional support to people who are in distress or feeling suicidal. Samaritans also offers pre-print advice service and training on suicide reporting for journalists. In August 2020 they launched revised guidelines and an online hub of resources.

Media guidelines
mediaadvice@samaritans.org or phone the media advice team on 020 8394 8377

The Suicide Reporting Toolkit is a practical resource for journalists and journalism educators to assist in reporting suicide responsibly. It embeds global media reporting guidelines on suicide within journalism practice.

   

Further support

IPSO has a series of blogs covering the reporting of suicide:

IPSO and Samaritans Blog: Helping editors and journalists to report on suicide - Head of Standards Charlotte Urwin introduces a new blogging partnership between IPSO and Samaritans which will help editors and journalists to report on suicide.

Guest Blog: Samaritans Media Advisory Service and guidelines - In the first of our series of guest blogs from Samaritans, Lorna Fraser, Executive Lead of Samaritans’ Media Advisory Service introduces the service and its guidelines to support safe and informative coverage of suicide and self-harm.

Guest blog: Reporting on suicides by young people - In the second in our series of blogs with Samaritans, Lorna Fraser, Executive Lead of their Media Advisory Service, looks at some of the specific challenges journalists face when reporting on suicides by young people and some of the additional sensitivities and risks which can make young people a particularly vulnerable audience.

Guest Blog: Reporting suicides that take place at outdoor locations - In the next in our series of blogs with Samaritans, Lorna Fraser, Executive Lead of their Media Advisory Service, looks at reporting on suicides which take place at outdoor locations and gives advice to journalists on some things to consider if they cover such incidents.

Guest blog: Reporting on suicide inquests - In the final blog of our series with Samaritans, Lorna Fraser, Executive Lead of their Media Advisory Service, looks at reporting on suicide inquests. She also discusses, from Samaritans’ perspective, some things for journalists to consider when writing about this challenging issue.

IPSO Blog: Relaunched Samaritans media guidelines can help journalists report suicide responsibly - Standards Officer Rosemary Douce on how the recently relaunched Samaritans media guidelines can help journalists covering deaths by suicide.

IPSO Blog: World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 - On World Suicide Prevention Day, Head of Communications Vikki Julian highlights IPSO's resources to help with responsible reporting of suicide.

We can provide non-binding, 24-hour pre-publication advice on the Editors Code if there are any concerns about articles prior to publication.