Categorized | CARICOM, Crime, Health, Local, News, Regional

Media urged to be more responsible in coverage of suicide

by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 13, CMC –Health authorities here are urging the media to be more responsible in their coverage of suicide cases here noting that suicide has become a “national health issue” in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ministry of Health in a statement said that the media perform an integral role in the responsible reporting of suicides and that “the way in which suicide is reported can either contribute to suicide contagion or encourage individuals in vulnerable conditions to seek help.

“Suicide Contagion or “Copycat Suicide” occurs when one or more suicides are reported in a way that contributes to further suicides,” it added.

Last year, the Ministry launched its “Media Guidelines for Responsible Reporting on Suicide,” said to be the first such document in the Caribbean.

Figures released by the Ministry then showed that Trinidad and Tobago has the fifth highest rate of suicide in the region per capita and the third highest rate in the English speaking Caribbean.

In its latest statement, the Ministry of Health did not provide figures on the number of suicide cases but urged the media to refrain from describing the method or location of a death by suicide, saying “you may mention that someone has died by suicide, but do not explicitly describe the method and location”.

It also urged the media to use images and words that “engender hope and encourage persons to seek help” rather than “providing a simplistic explanation for suicide or attributing it to a single cause such as stress or job loss.

“Explain that suicide is a public health issue and that most persons experiencing hardships do not die by suicide”.

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by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 13, CMC –Health authorities here are urging the media to be more responsible in their coverage of suicide cases here noting that suicide has become a “national health issue” in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ministry of Health in a statement said that the media perform an integral role in the responsible reporting of suicides and that “the way in which suicide is reported can either contribute to suicide contagion or encourage individuals in vulnerable conditions to seek help.

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“Suicide Contagion or “Copycat Suicide” occurs when one or more suicides are reported in a way that contributes to further suicides,” it added.

Last year, the Ministry launched its “Media Guidelines for Responsible Reporting on Suicide,” said to be the first such document in the Caribbean.

Figures released by the Ministry then showed that Trinidad and Tobago has the fifth highest rate of suicide in the region per capita and the third highest rate in the English speaking Caribbean.

In its latest statement, the Ministry of Health did not provide figures on the number of suicide cases but urged the media to refrain from describing the method or location of a death by suicide, saying “you may mention that someone has died by suicide, but do not explicitly describe the method and location”.

It also urged the media to use images and words that “engender hope and encourage persons to seek help” rather than “providing a simplistic explanation for suicide or attributing it to a single cause such as stress or job loss.

“Explain that suicide is a public health issue and that most persons experiencing hardships do not die by suicide”.