Wednesday October 17, 2018

‘Don’t Sensationalize or Glamorize Suicide’ Asserts WHO ; Says Media Can Play a Significant Role in Preventing Suicides

WHO scientists assert that journalists can help overcome this taboo by encouraging people to seek help and to speak openly about their distress

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Suicide
A makeshift memorial for actor Robin Wlliiams is shown outside a home which was used in the filming of the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire", Aug. 15, 2014, in San Francisco. Authorities said Williams committed suicide. (VOA)
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Geneva, September 11, 2017 : The World Health Organization reports about 800,000 people commit suicide every year. To mark this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), WHO is stressing the important role the media can play in stopping people from taking their own lives.

Worldwide, every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life. The World Health Organization reports for every suicide, 20 others, mainly young people, attempt to take their own lives. WHO says suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds.

It finds most suicides, more than 78 percent, occur in low-and middle-income countries and risk factors include mental disorders, particularly depression and anxiety resulting from alcohol use.

WHO cites growing evidence that the media can play a significant role in preventing suicide by reporting responsibly on these tragedies.

Scientist in WHO’s department of mental health and substance abuse, Alexandra Fleischmann tells VOA people are often reluctant to talk about suicide because of the stigma attached. She says journalists can help to overcome this taboo by encouraging people to seek help and to speak openly about their distress.

“It is also important to stress that the encouragement to work with the media and not just to talk about the don’ts. Don’t put it in the headlines,” she said. “Don’t put the picture of the person who died. Don’t sensationalize it. Don’t glamorize it.”

WHO warns irresponsible reporting of this sort often can trigger copycat suicides or increase the risk.

The UN health agency reports the most common methods of suicide are self-poisoning with pesticide and firearms. It says many of these deaths could be prevented by restricting access to these means. (VOA)

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Mental Health Issues Are Not Likely to Ruin Teenagers’ Friendships, Says Study

Compared to boys, girls tend to favour extended dyadic exchanges, and so they may respond to submissive behaviour with support and empathy, which may strengthen friendship ties

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Teenagers
Mental health may not ruin teenagers' friendships: Study. Pixabay

Teenagers with similar levels of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are more likely to remain friends, but dissimilarites can create incidence instability, a new study has found.

“An important takeaway from our study is that children’s personal struggles need not adversely impact their social relationships,” said Brett Laursen, Professor at the Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

“Mental health issues do not necessarily ruin chances of making and maintaining worthwhile friendships,” he added.

Youth who resembled one another were more likely to remain friends from one year to the next.

“Behavioural similarity is tremendously important to a friendship. Shared feelings and shared experiences are the glue that holds a friendship together,” Laursen said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, the team included 397 adolescents (194 boys, 203 girls) in 499 same-sex friendships, who were followed from grade seven (median age 13), through to the end of high school in grade 12.

Teenagers
Youth who resembled one another were more likely to remain friends from one year to the next. Pixabay

They examined the degree to which internalising symptoms — anxiety, depression, social withdrawal and submissiveness — predicted the dissolution of teenage friendships.

In most respects, boys and girls did not differ in the factors that predicted friendship instability.

However, one notable exception was — differences on submissiveness increased friendship instability for boys, but decreased friendship instability for girls.

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“Compared with girls, boys are more competitive and confrontational in interactions with friends, suggesting that dissimilarity on submissiveness may be a liability when it comes to the activities that many boys prefer such as sports and games,” Laursen said.

“Compared to boys, girls tend to favour extended dyadic exchanges, and so they may respond to submissive behaviour with support and empathy, which may strengthen friendship ties,” he noted. (IANS)