On Friday, December 9, 2011, The Globe and Mail published a story called “How the taboo on reporting suicide met its end,” regarding journalistic coverage of teen suicide. The article looked at the pros of suicide news coverage, including the ability for such stories to raise awareness. But there were also cons, including the potential for such stories to actually increase suicide rates, and the oversimplification of suicide by attributing its cause to single factors, such as bullying.
The author, Steve Ladurantaye, writes:
“Canadian newsrooms have been averse to covering suicides for decades, deferring to medical studies that suggest publicizing suicide results is “contagion” – the idea that stories about young people killing themselves lead to more young people killing themselves and should be avoided.
Standardizing the media’s approach to suicide—a topic that has long been viewed as taboo—may very well be the first step in accepting a population whose reality has been notoriously underreported.