What is RROCS?
Reporting Responsibly On Campus Suicide (RROCS) seeks to provide a set of guidelines and comprehensive education for students writing about campus suicides, as well as suggest effective strategies for covering wellness in the aftermath of crisis. RROCS is based on the extensive recommendations developed by leading experts in the fields of suicide prevention, journalism, and mental health to help journalists cover suicide without substantially increasing the risk for suicidal behavior.
Why is it important?
Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students and concerns regarding mental health are growing. A phenomenon known as media-influenced suicide contagion is a particularly salient concern for campus newspapers. Student journalists play a unique role in covering mental health and suicide on their campus as they often function as the organ of the student community, not only reflecting sentiment on campus but also contributing to it.
RROCS Includes Guidance and Suggestions on the Following
Questions to consider when covering suicide on campus
- What information should be shared, when and how?
- How do you balance breaking the story with being accurate and empathetic?
- How do you balance crisis coverage with regular coverage?
Considerations during the reporting and after publication
- What should you consider when writing headlines?
- How do you manage your own mental health as a reporter or editor covering suicide?
- When and whom should you ask for support?
Covering campus mental health after crisis
- Importance of covering stories of resiliency and recovery
- How to advocate for campus resources
Authors: Tammer Bagdasarian, Georgia Rosenberg, Savanna Stewart & Emma Talley
Written in collaboration with Stanford Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Media and Mental Health Initiative