A lot of journalists are unaware that how they cover suicide can be harmful and lead to contagion or copycat suicide. Conversely, new research indicates that reporting on suicide and mental health issues in a way that shows hope and mastery over a crisis can actually reduce the risk of suicide, explains Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Utah television producer Candice Madsen has turned to suicide experts, such as Reidenberg, to more effectively cover this sensitive topic so that it not only boosts ratings but also saves lives.
DAN REIDENBERG, PSYD
Dr. Dan Reidenberg is the executive director of SAVE, the managing director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, and the U.S. representative to the International Association of Suicide Prevention. He has also served on the steering committee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Candice Madsen is a senior producer of special projects at KSL Television in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her areas of focus include mental health issues, community affairs, and politics. Breaking the Silence on Suicide was her first 30-minute special on suicide, which aired during the May 2013 sweeps and received an overwhelmingly positive response from viewers.