Covering suicide in our community
Posted by IAVA Staff on March 25
The U.S. Army has released the suicide numbers for February 2013.
There were a total of 24 potential suicides in February 2013: 11 potential suicides among active duty soldiers and 13 potential suicides among the Reserve and Guard components. Overall, there were 10 fewer potential suicides in February 2013 than there were in January 2013.
The number of suicides in the military and veteran community is unacceptable.
According to the Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS), “Nearly all veteran and service member suicides are preventable. We are concerned that the public needs to understand that most veteran and service member suicides are preventable and that for most veterans, quality of life can be restored, even when they are in their darkest moments and feel hope is lost. Suicide is not inevitable. Many good mental health treatment programs are available and treatment does work for many.”
And it’s important for reporters to consider how they report on suicides in the military and veteran communities. The way they report on suicide can have life-changing effects.
“Research shows presenting suicide in the media as an inexplicable act, can actually encourage an increase in suicides. Consequently, an emphasis on immediacy in reporting, can be detrimental to good reporting on suicide and cause harm,” according to TAPS.
Help may be found through VA Vet Centers or the VA, by contacting a private healthcare provider, or by calling the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential and free help at 1-800-273-8255, press 1, or texting 838255.
Here’s the full tip sheet for reporters from TAPS:
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