Declaration of interest None.
Aims and method To assess the compliance of contemporary online media output with guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicidal acts. A search engine was used to identify online media reports of suicide from UK sources over the course of 1 month. Each article was assessed against guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide produced by the Samaritans, a UK mental health charity.
Results We identified 229 articles, of which 199 failed to comply with at least one of the Samaritans' guidelines. Failure to mention support sources, excessive detail about the method used and undue speculation about the trigger for suicide were the most commonly breached guidelines. Significant differences were found between the quality of local and national media sources, with local media sources being broadly more compliant with guidelines.
Clinical implications This study highlights the urgent need for the implementation of responsible reporting guidelines in online media articles as a component of suicide prevention efforts.
- © 2016 The Royal College of Psychiatrists
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