Movies, television shows, documentaries, music videos, plays, and other types of media portraying suicide can help to raise awareness about this national health problem. Heightened awareness and accurate information about suicide, warning signs, and risk factors can play a powerful role in preventing suicide and decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness.
However, suicide and mental illness are sometimes portrayed in ways that perpetuate myths that can increase the risk of suicide contagion, a phenomenon in which additional, often similar suicides take place following the report of a suicide, presumably inspired by learning about the original suicide.
To help members of the creative community to accurately portray suicide and mental illness in a way that does not spur suicide contagion, the Entertainment Industry Council (EIC), along with AFSP and two-dozen organizations, worked to create the EIC’s Picture This: Depression and Suicide Prevention resource guide. We encourage entertainment writers, editors, and producers to review and follow this guide when addressing mental illness or suicide in their works.
To speak with experts on suicide prevention, or for more information on safe reporting recommendations, please contact [email protected] or (212) 363-3500 Ext. 2024.