After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 59 Key Messages for Media Spokesperson This information is for use by the person designated by the school to speak with the media. School’s Messages • • We are heartbroken over the death of one of our students. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to [HIS/HER] family and friends and the entire community. • • We will be offering grief counseling for students and staff starting on [DATE] and lasting through [DATE] or as long as needed. • • We will be hosting an informational meeting for parents and the community regarding suicide prevention on [DATE/TIME/LOCATION]. Experts will be on hand to answer questions. • • No TV cameras or reporters will be allowed in the school or on school grounds. School’s Response to the Media • • The media are strongly encouraged to refer to the document Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide. • • Research has shown that graphic, sensationalized, or romanticized descriptions of suicide deaths in the news media can contribute to suicide contagion (i.e., copycat suicides), particularly among youth. • • Media coverage that details the location and manner of suicide with photos or video increases the risk of contagion. • • Media should also avoid oversimplifying the cause of a suicide (e.g., “student took his own life after breakup with girlfriend”). This gives the audience a simplistic understanding of a complicated issue. • • Remind the public that in a majority of suicide deaths, mental health issues play an important role, underscoring the need to address mental health concerns proactively. • • Media should include links to or information about helpful resources, such as local crisis hotlines and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK (8255). Information on Suicide • • Suicide is complicated and involves multiple risk factors. It is not simply the result of stress or difficult life circumstances. Many people who die by suicide have a mental health condition, the most common of which is depression. • • Mental health conditions and substance abuse problems are treatable. • • The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other mental health conditions, including substance abuse problems.