Advances in Mental Health, Vol 11, No 3 (2013)

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Suicide bereavement and the media: A qualitative study

Jaelea Skehan

Abstract


While there has been a great deal of international interest in the reporting of suicide and the potential impact on community behaviour, research has not yet been reported that considers the specific impact of media reporting on those bereaved by suicide, nor has it considered the potential impact of reports focussing on suicide bereavement on community behaviour. The suicide bereavement literature has generally focussed on describing the unique experience and needs of people bereaved by suicide, but specific considerations, such as interaction with the media, are generally absent from the discussion. In the present study a series of focus groups with people bereaved by suicide and key informant interviews with media professionals, postvention workers, police, coroners and people bereaved by suicide were conducted.  Results shows that there can be considerable variation in how people bereaved by suicide view media coverage and the reported impacts that being exposed to reports, or involved in stories, about suicide can have.  It highlights a need to consider resource and service models to brief and support those bereaved by suicide when interacting with the media and expansion of current resources and training for journalists that considers the challenges of interacting with people who are bereaved.





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