Samaritans Speak Out Against Media Reporting Of Suspected Double Suicides

"Reporting can act as a catalyst"

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Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said:
“We are very alarmed about the possible copycat deaths which took place in London yesterday. We feel it is necessary to remind the media that it can play a harmful role in passing on information about suicide. Reporting can act as a catalyst in bringing the method of suicide to the forefront of vulnerable peoples’ minds, which can result in an increase in a particular method of suicide. It is for this reason that we are now issuing a strong warning for all media to take extreme care when reporting both these and any other similar suicides in the future.

“It is important that the issue of suicide is discussed in the media as this can encourage vulnerable people to seek help at an earlier stage and highlight the complex nature of suicide. However, we should all be mindful that there are always vulnerable people in society who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide and it is dangerous to present them with new and accessible methods of suicide which they may fixate on.

“Suicide is a rare and extreme act, undertaken by vulnerable people in acute crisis . Offering people appropriate emotional support can help people come through a suicidal crisis and make the difference between them choosing to live and deciding to die.

“We urge anyone in distress to contact Samaritans for 24/7 confidential, non-judgmental support by phone 08457 90 90 90, email or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details.”

October 2, 2010