For the Media
As an international authority on the aftermath of suicide with 20+ years of professional experience—and the longtime survivor of my own brother’s suicide—I can offer perspective and information through an expert voice, to complement what might be elicited from family members, friends, and/or first responders. I can address:
how/why suicide occurs, including in individuals who were “the last one you’d expect”
the relationship between suicide and the Covid pandemic (or unemployment bullying, divorce, or other serious life stressors)
the natural fears and questions following the suicide of a young person, including the possibility of contagion
what to expect in the aftermath of suicide (what’s “normal” and when to worry)
the impact of suicide on a workplace
the impact of suicide in a faith community
the impact of suicide in a school community
Five important tips for writing and reporting about suicide:
1. Suicide is very complicated and is almost always caused by a complex mix of factors, not just by a single event or circumstance. In most cases, these factors include a serious underlying mental health condition such as depression, which can cause intense emotional suffering, but which may not have been obvious from the outside.
2. It is safe to ask someone if they may be thinking about suicide (and a myth that asking a direct question about suicidality can somehow increase risk). The best way to ask: “I’m concerned about your safety. Have you been thinking about death or dying?”
3. People cope with suicide loss in very different ways. Some may share their feelings openly, others prefer to cope privately.
4. Please include two key suicide prevention resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line. Text “TALK” to 741741).
5. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the National Consensus Recommendations for Safe and Effective Reporting on Suicide. Following these evidence-based recommendations can help reduce the risk of suicide contagion.