A new series by the Woodstock Sentinel Review examines the role that the media plays in the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. Reporting on suicide as a public health issue contributes to decreasing stigma and encourages vulnerable individuals to seek help. However, improper coverage and sensationalism of suicide by media can influence behavior negatively by contributing to contagion.
“It always has to be a fine balance. There is research that, if coverage is very prominent, it can increase the likelihood of suicide in people who are vulnerable,” Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario told the newspaper. “If it is reported responsibly, it will really help people get help.”
In the interview, Quenneville shared how the coverage surrounding the tragic death of Terry Trafford, a Toronto youth who played junior hockey for the Saginaw Spirit, ultimately led to CMHA Ontario and the Ontario Hockey League establishing the Talk Today program a way to prevent future deaths.
“We’ve trained 400 youth in the suicide awareness,” she said. “The end result is a very positive program.”
For more information, read the full article on the Woodstock Sentinel Review website.