Many of you have seen the distressing headlines. In recent weeks, a New
Jersey college student died by suicide after a video of him was posted
online. Other reports state that at least three younger teens in
Indiana and California took their lives after being subjected to ongoing
harassment for being gay, or being perceived as being gay. In response,
some of the messages have inadvertently misstated what is known about
the links between bullying and suicide, and sexual orientation and
suicide. Some news media have included *facts* such as: *LGBT youth are
4 times more likely to commit suicide*. Other articles and press
releases imply that suicide is a *normal* or expected response to
You may be involved in efforts to address these tragedies, or in a
position to be contacted by news media for commentary and information on
suicidal behavior among GLBT youth. We wanted to remind you of several
resources that may be helpful to you:
Safe and Effective Messaging.
http://library.sprc.org/getitem.php?id=341&res=url ) This
document for suicide prevention practitioners offers evidence-based
recommendations for creating safe and effective messages to raise public
awareness that suicide is a serious and preventable public health
problem. It contains Do*s and Don*ts for creating public messages for
At-a-glance: Safe Reporting on Suicide.
http://library.sprc.org/getitem.php?id=257&res=url ) Often
confused with the above document, this consensus document provides
recommendations for news media. It is currently in the process of being
revised and updated but until the revised version is available, please
use this one. We provide it every time we are in contact with a reporter
or editor. It is only two pages long and they do read it.
Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
This 2008 publication addresses the special concerns related to suicide
prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.
It summarizes the current state of knowledge about suicidality in this
population, and outlines twenty-one recommendations for helping to
reduce suicidal behavior among LGBT youth. As the introduction states:
*For several reasons, little can be said with certainty about suicide
deaths among LGB people. Most mortality data do not include sexual
orientation. However, based on the higher rate of suicide attempts among
LGB youth and the relative seriousness of their suicide attempts, it is
likely that LGB youth experience higher rates of suicide deaths than
their non-LGB peers. While limited information is available on suicidal
behavior among transgender youth, it is plausible to hypothesize that
transgender youth, in common with LGB youth, have elevated risk and
lower protective factors and higher rates of suicidal behavior.*
Finally, if you are reaching out to news media, you may find this
guide, created for SPRC by SPAN USA a few years back, helpful:
Guide to engaging the media in suicide prevention
This 44-page guide teaches you how to serve as an effective media
spokesperson and how to generate media coverage to create awareness of
suicide prevention. The publication describes how to use television,
radio, and print media and provides examples of pres
s releases, media
advisories, pitch letters, op-eds and more. It also gives tips for
identifying appropriate media outlets, creating up-to-date media lists,
and tracking your results.
Please use this list to discuss your successes and challengeswith your
colleagues. As always, we encourage you to contact us if you need
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
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