AP Stylebook to Include Suicide in Latest Edition

We all know that media plays an important role in how people understand certain topics or events, and this is especially true when it comes to how we talk about mental health challenges. This places incredible responsibility on the shoulders of journalists and reporters of media outlets to use appropriate language when covering a story relating to any mental health challenge, whether it is anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.

AP style

A new entry has been made to the 2015 AP Stylebook that will be released in May regarding language about suicide. The AP Stylebook is a central resource for journalists to reference how to speak about various topics, and now the media will be better informed when writing about suicide. The new entry closely mirrors the National Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide and urges journalists not to go into detail about deaths and suicide attempt and to avoid using the term “committed suicide” unless in a direct quote from authorities.

Encouraging media to use appropriate language when reporting about suicide is a great step towards eliminating stigma surrounding mental health challenges. When one group, or even one person, makes a change in the right direction, it paves the way for the rest to follow.

Visit SuicideIsPreventable.org to learn the warning signs for suicide and find local resources in your county. If you or someone you know may be at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. Answered locally by trained crisis center staff, this resource is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day