Quality statement 3: Media reporting

Quality statement

Multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships have a local media plan that identifies how they will encourage journalists and editors to follow best practice when reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Rationale

Irresponsible reporting of suicide and suicidal behaviour may have harmful effects, including potentially increasing the risk of suicide. By promoting best practice, partnerships can encourage responsible reporting, which can help prevent suicide clusters and avoid further distress being caused to those bereaved or affected by suicide.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence that multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships have a local media plan that identifies how they will encourage best practice in reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, a partnership media plan.

b) Evidence that multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships have a named lead for the local media plan.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, description of partnership roles and responsibilities.

c) Evidence that multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships work with other organisations such as the Samaritans to give feedback to local media journalists and editors about reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, a feedback log. This may include information on feedback given by other organisations such as the Samaritans.

Outcome

a) Number of local media reports of suicide or suicidal behaviour that do not meet best practice criteria.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, monitoring records.

b) Suicide rate.

Data source: Public Health England's Suicide Prevention Profile includes data on the rate of suicide in local authority areas for different population groups (based on Office for National Statistics source data).

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships in the community develop a plan for liaising with local media organisations that encourages a positive relationship and promotes best practice when reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour. Partnerships identify a lead to coordinate the local media plan. Partnerships work with organisations such as the Samaritans to provide feedback to editors and journalists if a report is not consistent with best practice guidelines.

Multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships in residential custodial and detention settings liaise with local media through the Ministry of Justice, if relevant, and encourage Ministry of Justice press officers to follow best practice when reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Local media journalists and editors work with the local suicide prevention partnership and other organisations such as the Samaritans to increase awareness of best practice and improve reporting standards.

Source guidance

Preventing suicide in community and custodial settings (2018) NICE guideline NG105, recommendations 1.10.1, 1.10.2 and 1.10.4

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Best practice when reporting on suicide and suicidal behaviour

This includes:

  • using sensitive language that is not stigmatising or in any other way distressing to people who have been affected

  • reducing speculative reporting

  • avoiding presenting detail on methods

  • providing stories of hope and recovery including signposting to support.

Refer to: the World Health Organization's Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals; the Samaritans' Media guidelines for reporting suicide; OFCOM's Broadcasting code; and the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

[NICE's guideline on preventing suicide in community and custodial settings, recommendations 1.10.2 and expert opinion]