Promote Responsible Media Reporting

Promote responsible reporting and accurate portrayals of suicidal behavior, mental health conditions and substance abuse in the media.


   Reduce suicide contagion through communications media by providing editors with guidelines for reporting suicide and suicide prevention resource information.


Individuals & Families:

  • Teach youth to use social media and emerging technology to build positive social and
    interpersonal relationships.
  • Talk to children and youth about social media – discuss the effects of cyber-bullying and other aspects of social media such as public gossiping that may exacerbate a pre-existing mental health condition.
  • Write letters to media outlets when you see inaccurate, misleading or insensitive portrayals of suicide.

Non-profit, Community-Based, Faith-Based, and Businesses

  • Publish articles on suicide prevention
    measures, how to get help, and how to
    support someone who is at risk.
  • Train journalists about guidelines for safe reporting and the long-term, unintended consequences of reporting about suicide.
  • Encourage and recognize news organizations that develop and implement policies and practices addressing the safe and responsible reporting of suicide and other related behaviors.

Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

  • Encourage journalism programs to include the recommended guidelines in their curricula guidance on the portrayal and reporting of mental health, suicide, and suicidal behaviors.


  • Inquire of young patients about their relationship with social media and if it affects their mood and health, encouraging them to talk to their parents.  

Policy and Systems:

  • Encourage news reports on suicide to observe recommended guidelines in the depiction of suicide and mental health conditions.
  • Review media recommendations regularly to incorporate the most up-to-date information.

National Recommendations for Depicting Suicide in Entertainment

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) has released the first-ever National Recommendations for Depicting Suicide ( in entertainment content, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC). Representatives from the entertainment industry and suicide prevention field provided input on the recommendations, which advances goal four of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.


Studies have found that the way the media covers suicide can influence behavior negatively, by contributing to increased suicidal behavior among viewers, or positively, by encouraging help-seeking and recovery. These new recommendations aim to help members of the entertainment industry—content creators, scriptwriters, and producers—tell more balanced and authentic stories involving suicide that promote hope and healing.


Whether you are engaging with a local station or a national entertainment network, you can play a key role in connecting members of the entertainment industry with these recommendations!


Please help us spread the word by sharing this exciting new resource. We encourage you to:

  • Post on social media (sample post: First-ever Natl Recommendations for Depicting #Suicide in entertainment content are now available via #suicideinscripts)
  • Share the link in your upcoming newsletter or with your listserv
  • Make the resource available on your website
  • Read and share the press release

This important resource is a part of the Action Alliance’s Real Stories initiative, which aims to engage and educate news and entertainment media in suicide prevention. To learn more about this and other Action Alliance initiatives, visit

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