AUSTRALIA & THE UNITED KINGDOM: Portraying suicide: Research on UK arts coverage and shifts in stage and screen practice in Australia

January 23, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Like Australia, the UK has established guidelines for journalists to help them cover suicide responsibly. However, researchers from University College London recently reported that in many instances, these recommendations are not followed. They focused particularly on reviews of art exhibitions featuring the work of artists who had died by suicide, and found that many reviewers writing about the exhibits used inappropriate language, described the artists’ deaths explicitly, or oversimplified the causes of suicidality. By contrast, they noted greater success in Australia, where not only news journalists but also those who cover arts and sports have been involved in developing guidelines for suicide reporting. “What sets the Australian way apart from other countries which also have guidelines, has been the range of education and training activities ensuring media practitioners are aware, understand and know how to use the resources,” said Marc Bryant, manager of the Mindframe National Media Initiative at Australia’s Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

Spark Extra:Learn more about the Mindframe National Media Initiative, which includes a separate component specifically for the stage and screen industries.