Mental health expert tasks media on suicide reportage

 Dr Maymunah Yusuf-Kadiri, the Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, on Tuesday urged media professionals on responsible reportage of suicide related issues.

Kadiri gave the advice at a Mental Health Training Webinar organised by Pinnacle Medical Services in collaboration with the Pinnacle Medical Speakout Initiative for media professionals.

She said that media have major roles to play in educating and preventing suicide rate through their reports.

“When reporting about a suicide incident, the media should try as much as possible to avoid using sensational languages or present it as solution to the problems.

“This will help to discourage copycat or imitative suicide that had been linked to what people see, hear or read, and this type of suicide is common in South Korea, U.S and India.

“Reports on suicide should be used to educate the public on how to get help to overcome depression, which may lead to suicide.

“We are expected to avoid using photograph or video footage and word our headlines carefully in order not to mislead the public,” she said.

According to her, depression is the most commonest psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide.

The mental health physician noted that suicide was the 15th leading cause of deaths globally, which also account for 1.4 per cent of all deaths worldwide.

“We are part of a community linked to family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours or team; we all have the responsibility to empower those who are vulnerable in our communities.

“If we all play our part as an individual, it will directly or indirectly prevent suicide.

“Relatives or close friends of people who died by suicide are a high-risk group due to the psychological trauma of a suicide loss,” she said.

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