Views and attitudes regarding the reporting/communication of suicide held by Australian media and public relations professionals and students

Principal Researchers 

Jaelea Skehan
Ross Tynan
Renate Thienel

Research status - In progress

Within the suicide literature, there has been extensive research investigating the relationship between news reporting and suicide. This research has been used to develop evidence-based recommendations regarding how to safely report on suicide. There has been very little research, however, exploring how those who work in the media and/or in public relations perceive the evidence that constitute the core principles that underlie these recommendations. 

This research aimed to investigate the attitudes towards underlying principles that give rise to Mindframe recommendations in three key target groups: 

  • Media professionals
  • Public relations professionals
  • Students studying journalism and/or public relations. 

The research also aimed to determine factors that may be associated with participant attitudes, including demographics, workplace and educational background, suicide stigma, personal and professional exposure to suicide, and prior exposure to the Mindframe program and/or resources. 

The research involved a brief online survey. The survey was promoted nationally by the peak media bodies, individual media organisations, Universities and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

In total, approximately 900 participants completed the survey, including a broad representative cross-section of employment categories, levels of experience/education, gender and geographical location. Overall, most participants agreed with the evidence that underpin Mindframe recommendations. Stigma of suicide was low compared to other groups in the literature. The majority of participants also indicated that had both personal and professional exposure to suicide. 

The research team are currently further analysing participants attitudes towards the evidence base that underpin the guidelines, to assess the relationship with personal exposure to suicide, stigma and demographic and workplace characteristics.

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