45 SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS Suicide attempt is not about success, failure or completion. Language about suicide should be factual and careful. People die by suicide or attempt to die by suicide. People may have lived through a suicide attempt or been affected by the suicide attempt of someone. Using safe language avoids words that describe suicide in a positive or negative way. Using neutral, factual and respectful words is far less stigmatizing. Some descriptive language can have negative connotations. The way we communicate about suicide needs to avoid further stigma and focus on prevention. Images matter too Safe images: • Images need to be consistent with safe language and communication for suicide prevention. • mages that convey a sense of belonging or community, a sense of hope, and healing and recovery are more consistent with safe communication. Images are most effective when they reinforce the message that no one is alone, that help is available and that everyone's life matters. Safe communication for suicide prevention means that words and images are well-planned, helpful and respectful. Problematic images: • Images that are negative, violent or graphic tend to be problematic.When images reinforce stereotypes or aspects of suicide, they can be stigmatizing, unhelpful and unsafe. Images of broken minds, fallen people or methods and locations of suicide (firearms, substances, bridges, etc.) are examples of images to avoid. Common dos and don'ts Safe messaging: • Communicates that suicide is a public health and safety issue. • Explains that suicide is a complex issue that can affect anyone and takes advantage of opportunities to inform people while focussing on prevention. • Addresses a balance of protective and risk factors associated with suicide. • Balances the use of statistics on suicide with enough context about the issue. Uses credible sources and accurate statistics about suicide. • Uses clear, neutral and people-first language. • Avoids detailed descriptions or comparisons of suicides (e.g. methods/means, locations, personal information). • Tailors messaging to audiences with content that is age, gender, culturally appropriate and effective. • Communicates about suicide with care and compassion by considering impacts on people. • Ensures communication about suicide is safe and effective by consulting relevant resources as needed (e.g. guidelines for suicide reporting). • Uses neutral, life-affirming and positive visuals to convey hope, available help and healing. • Provides helpful information and contact details for appropriate supports and services. Problematic messaging: • Communicates about suicide in a way that sensationalizes or stereotypes suicide and the people impacted. • Magnifies or minimizes the causes or responses to suicide. • Suggests suicide is inevitable or not preventable. • Links suicide only with certain populations. • Lists risk factors (e.g. resembling a checklist) without acknowledging or including broader factors, including factors that protect against suicide. • Focuses on statistics without adequate context or resources (data limitations and relevance). • Uses jargon, or technical, outdated or stigmatizing language. • Includes details or descriptions about suicide death or people who have died by suicide. • Uses the same message regardless of the characteristics and needs of the audiences. • Includes content that can be traumatizing or stigmatizing for people (that causes blame, shame, guilt and fear) or pose harm by unintentionally increasing risk of suicides. • Communicates about suicide without using safe messaging guidelines or seeking advice from mental health professionals, suicide prevention experts and people with lived experience. • Uses negative, violent or stereotypical images that perpetuate further stigma of suicide and people affected by suicide. • Communicates about suicide without offering helpful information. Safe communication for suicide prevention (continued) Need Help Now? Call The Island Helpline 1-800-218-2885 Available 24-7