Reporting and Communicating about Suicide Training

Training Description: Journalists and communication professionals have an important role to play in the prevention of suicide through ethical and responsible communication of this sensitive topic. But under the pressure of deadlines we can make some rash decisions that we later regret. This workshop explores the stigma and harm resulting from poor language choice, the powerful effect that certain words can have on the public’s understanding of suicide, and the beneficial outcomes of positive communication. We will introduce you to the Suicide Reporting Toolkit, a comprehensive resource we have created to help those working in the media to report suicide responsibly. The toolkit has been endorsed by the American Association of Suicidology and has been supported by the UK regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation; the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma; the Ethical Journalism Network, and the Public Media Alliance. 


Dr. Ann Luce is an Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication with nearly 10 years of investigative data journalism (covering health and science), business reporting (covering government and politics) and editorial writing in the United States. One of her most notable pieces of journalism was investigating suicide rates in Florida, which garnered support for the creation of the Office of Suicide Prevention and Drug Control in the State of Florida. Ann also won a “Responsible and Ethical Reporting Suicide” award from then-Governor, Jeb Bush. Ann researchers in the area of suicide and media and is author of “The Bridgend Suicides: Suicide and the Media”. She co-wrote two sets of guidelines for the World Health Organisation on the Reporting of Suicide and Blogging Guidelines on suicide for SAVE. She also consulted on #chatsafe, guidelines for young people to talk safely about suicide online, created by Orygen, Australia. She is currently the UK National Representative for the International Association of Suicide Prevention; steering group member for the National Suicide Prevention Alliance in the UK and the Research and Media Lead on the Pan-Dorset suicide and self-harm multi-agency strategy group for the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group in the UK. 

Dr Sallyanne Duncan is a senior lecturer in journalism and journalism ethics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and is programme director of the MLitt Digital Journalism degree. She researches media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide. She focuses specifically on norms of behaviour, journalistic processes, narratives/story-telling, ethical issues, and intrusive reporting pedagogy. She has co-authored a book, Reporting Bad News, on the decision-making processes journalists undertake when covering death. She has also published several journal articles, book chapters and participated in articles/podcasts for the BBC Academy. She submitted evidence on media reporting of the bereaved to the UK Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press. Currently, she is working on a book on ethics for journalists. Her research into death and trauma led to her being invited by the UK’s National Union of Journalists to rewrite their professional guidelines on media reporting of mental health and suicide, Responsible Reporting of Mental Health, Mental Illness and Death by Suicide, one of the main set of guidelines used by UK journalists. Prior to becoming an academic, Sallyanne worked as a journalist in the Scottish weekly press covering everything from local council meetings to high profile murder cases.

For questions, please email AAS Director of Public Relations and Media, Chris Maxwell.


Presentation Slides
Toolkit Overview
Story notes: Firearms
Story notes: Pair

Presentation Recording