Suicides; A new study suggests that UK newspapers are not adhering to guidelines when they report on suicides involving people who are transgender. The research, from the University of York and Hull York Medical School, suggests that newspaper articles about suicide in transgender people do not adhere to guidelines design to minimise the risk of imitative suicide (sometimes called “copycat” suicide).
Suicides at least once
Common breaches of the guidelines include using stigmatising language; so reporting what was written in a suicide note, or speculating on what might have drive an individual to take their own life. Previous research has show that transgender individuals are at high risk of suicide; so with 40% saying they have attempt suicides at least once before.
Lead author of the study, Jaime Bolzern, a medical student at the Hull York Medical School, said: Prominent media coverage of suicidal acts can be follow by imitative suicide; also this is why it is so important that news stories about suicide stick to expert guidelines to reduce this risk. Adhering to guidelines involves things; so like avoiding mentioning the suicide method; also making sure suicide hotline numbers are provide in the article.
The researchers search 10 years of UK newspaper archives between 2007; and also 2017 to find articles about transgender people who had taken their own lives; also check whether they adhere to suicide prevention guidelines; so set out by the Samaritans; so the World Health Organization and the National Union of Journalists.
Dr. Dean McMillan, from Hull York Medical School; also Department of Health Sciences at the University of York and an author of the paper, said: Because they know people are more likely to be affect by imitative suicide if they share characteristics like their age or gender with the person whose suicide was in the news; they were particularly interest in seeing whether newspapers report; so suicide deaths in the transgender community in a responsible way.
Previous research has shown that transgender individuals are at very high risk of suicide; so making sure the media is not contributing to that very high risk is essential. Jaime Bolzern added. They don’t want to discourage the media from talking about suicide it’s really important to be able to have that kind of discourse; so especially when it affects people from populations which often face marginalisation, such as the transgender community.
However, if that kind of reporting might pose a risk to its readers, it’s time to reassess the way that reporting is done. They hope newspaper editors and journalists will look carefully at these new findings and exercise greater caution, sticking to suicide reporting guidelines to protect the mental health of all their readers, both transgender and cisgender.