Suicidal Tendencies

The SMH must be flying close to the Press Council guidelines on suicide with its reporting today on goth-suicides.

The Council believes that most papers are aware of the desirability of treating suicide with restraint, and of avoiding:

  • Adding to the pain of relatives and friends of the deceased;
  • Any reporting which might encourage copy-cat suicides or self harm;
  • Unnecessary reference to details of method or place of a suicide:
  • Language or presentation which trivialises, romanticises, or glorifies suicide, particularly in papers which target a youth readership;
  • Loose or slang use of terms to describe various forms of mental illness, and the risk of stigmatising vulnerable people that may accompany such labels.

The Council also strongly commends to editors the suggestion that articles dealing with suicide, when they are deemed necessary, should include reference to the counselling services available to people in emotional distress and to their families, with contact addresses and phone numbers.

I’m only a layman, but it looks to me like this piece:

  • might encourage copy-cat suicides
  • romanticises suicide
  • does not include any reference to suicide counselling services
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8 Responses to Suicidal Tendencies

  1. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Not sure how the article romanticises suicide, or encourages copycats. Don’t see why the shareholders of Fairfax should subsidise counselling services. All up, I’m appalled the Press Council even exists, let alone inhibits free speech.

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Dammit Sinc, are you telling me that durn federal government’s still here? Ten years of Liberal governments, and the thing still seems to be hanging around like a bad smell.

  3. Sinclair Davidson says:

    yep. Nobody believes me when I say Australia had the highest GDP per capita in 1900 and now we’re 20th. What’s the difference? Federation.

  4. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Stephen Schwartz (soon to be of MacQuarie)once said that suicide was positivilt associated with excess government regulation. Now I’m not sure if he had numbers, or had read it somewhere, or was proposing his own theory.

  5. Andrew Leigh says:

    Sinc, when it comes to one’s most hated policies driving up the suicide rate, two can play at that game.

  6. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Just read the abstract. That is a fantastic article. I’ll have to get the whole thing at some stage.

  7. Yobbo says:

    When your Giant Papier Mache head of John Howard catches on fire, sometimes offing yourself seems like the only way out.

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