Houston Suicides and the Media

For Immediate Release

Contact: Traci Patterson
Director of Communications
(713) 520-3476 (Direct)
tpatterson@mhahouston.org

Houston Suicides and the Media

Houston, TX (September 9, 2011)-Over the past 12 months, individuals, families and communities throughout the greater Houston area have lost veterans, husbands and wives, elderly, teens, youth, mothers, co-workers and others by suicide—and our media has often reported on these tragic and emotional losses.

A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that nearly 8.3 million adults (age 18 and older) in the U.S. (3.7 percent) have serious thoughts of suicide every year. The study also shows that 2.3 million adult Americans made a suicide plan in the past year and that 1.1 million adults - 0.5 percent of all adult Americans – had actually attempted suicide in the past year.

The media can play a powerful role in educating the public about suicide prevention. Stories about suicide can inform readers and viewers about the likely causes of suicide, its warning signs, trends in suicide rates, and recent treatment advances. They can also highlight opportunities to prevent suicide. Media stories about individual deaths by suicide may be newsworthy and need to be covered, but they also have the potential to do harm. Implementation of recommendations for media coverage of suicide has been shown to decrease suicide rates.

Each year Mental Health America of Greater Houston and advocates worldwide work to promote action to prevent suicides. During Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 4-10) and World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) we hope to raise awareness that suicide is a major, preventable cause of premature death and that the media plays an integral role in reporting and educating the public on issues in suicide.

Please take a moment to read the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_/recommendations.pdf), learn more about suicide prevention and share it with others who may report on this issue.

For more information, you may contact me, Traci Patterson, Director of Communications at 713-520-3476 (direct) or tpatterson@mhahouston.org.

Additional Resources:

Mental Health America of Greater Houston: www.mhahouston.org

Mental Health America of Texas-Texas Suicide Prevention: http://www.texassuicideprevention.org

Reporting On Suicide: www.reportingonsuicide.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: www.sprc.org/library/sreporting.pdf

American Association of Suicidology: www.suicidology.org/web/guest/home

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org

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Category: press release