The Lancet cautions against sensationalising news about suicide especially during the pandemic. November 2020.
News reporting on suicidal behaviour can have a considerable influence on suicide and self-harm in the general population.1 This issue is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a rising number of deaths from COVID-19 infection and negative effects of the pandemic on key factors that are associated with suicide, including social isolation, unemployment, and financial problems, there is understandable concern that suicide rates might increase.2 Importantly, news reporting should not add to the potential risks of suicide.Sensational media coverage of the negative effects resulting from the pandemic, especially when focused on suicidal behaviour, could increase the risk of imitation and contribute to normalising suicidal behaviour as a common and acceptable way to cope with difficulties related to the crisis. Of particular concern is the impact on young people, who are more likely to be influenced by what they see and hear in the media, are disproportionately featured in news coverage of suicide,3 and are at increased risk of imitative suicidal behaviour.4Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in