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Media should be cautious in reporting suicides, says expert

Lakshmi Vijayakumar

Lakshmi Vijayakumar  

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Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder, Senha, a suicide prevention organisation, said suicides should not be sensationalised or normalised as it could lead to copycat behaviour

Through its coverage of suicide, the media too plays a role in influencing vulnerable people towards the extreme step. The media should be cautious in reporting such incidents, said Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder, Sneha, a suicide prevention organisation.

In her talk on ‘Reporting on Suicide: A media briefing’, on Thursday, she said suicides should not be sensationalised or normalised as it could lead to copycat behaviour.

Citing recent celebrity suicides, she said such cases should be reported on carefully, and instead of details on how the incident happened, reports could emphasise on the contributions of the individual. The interaction was hosted by Reach, an organisation working on tuberculosis along with Lilly Global Health Partnership and United Way.

Southern states, including Tamil Nadu, had a high suicide rate. Pointing out that the majority of the suicides could be prevented, she said the media could avoid reporting the causes of suicide and provide helpline numbers in their reports. Policy changes such as supplementary exam systems by the State government helped in bringing down exam-failure related suicides. Such trends could be highlighted in the media, she said.

Dr. Vijayakumar also spoke about the recent guidelines provided by the Press Council of India on reporting about suicide and mental illnesses.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:15:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/media-should-be-cautious-in-reporting-suicides-says-expert-in-chennai/article30059932.ece

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