Safe and Effective Messaging and Reporting

How we communicate about suicide—both in the media and in prevention messages—makes a difference.

Messages and images about suicide can:

  • Encourage hope or discourage people from seeking help
  • Celebrate life or romanticize death
  • Help people understand that suicide is preventable and mental illnesses are treatable or reinforce inaccurate beliefs that nothing can be done about these problems

Reporting on Suicide

The news media should report on suicide in a way that is accurate and doesn’t negatively impact people at risk. See the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide website.

Developing Suicide Prevention Messages

The National Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging website can help people working in suicide prevention and mental health promotion ensure that all of their messages about suicide are strategic, safe, positive, and make use of relevant guidelines and best practices.

Recommended Resources

Framework for Successful Messaging

This website can help individuals and organizations develop messages about suicide that are strategic, safe, and positive.

Framework for successful messaging: Guidelines topic list

This directory includes communications resources for specific goals, channels, audiences, and contexts (e.g., postvention, schools).

Strategic Communication Planning

This video series features expert advice on strategic communication planning for suicide prevention, along with free worksheets to help you get started today!

Social media guidelines for mental health promotion and suicide prevention

This brief provides tips on how to communicate about mental health and suicide on social media sites.

Suicide and the news and information media: A critical review

This literature review examines whether portrayals of suicide in the media can lead to imitation.