Pre-Conference on Media and Youth Suicide

In conjunction with our 2018 Adolescent Mental Wellness Conference: Overcoming Cultural Barriers to Access, we recently held "Media & Youth Suicide: Best Practices for Reporting and Storytelling" a pre-conference symposium. This invitation-only event was dedicated to promoting responsible portrayals of youth suicide in the media. It took place on April 26, 2018 at Microsoft's Sunnyvale campus and included a predominately regional mix of representatives from news media, entertainment media, social media, schools of journalism, youth, and mental health experts.

Key takeaways from the event 

  • First person perspectives from youth on media influence
  • Explore the link between media reporting/portrayal of suicide and mass shootings and public health.
  • Develop a trusted regional network of media partners & mental health professionals
  • Engage in skill building for early career journalists & senior professionals
  • Uncover and highlight shared challenges in following best practice guidelines
  • Review examples of compelling, non-stigmatizing story ideas

Video Gallery

Print Media: Reflections on Reporting on Youth Suicides

Journalist Perspective
Elena Kadvany
Reporter, Palo Alto Weekly

Reporter Elena Kadvany of the Palo Alto Weekly reflects on past coverage of those who have died by suicide and how adopting and implementing national suicide guidelines have changed the way Palo Alto Weekly reports on deaths by suicide.

Journalist Perspective
Laura Kutch
Community Relations Manager, ABC 7

Media professional Laura Kutch shares her experience around adopting best practices in relation to a segment discussing youth suicide.

Is the Media Helping? Research Studies Based on the Media Portrayal of Youth Suicide and Mental Illness

Contagion Today Case Study: 13 Reasons Why
Dr. Sansea Jacobson
Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Sansea Jacobson provides insights about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and what the media can do moving forward concerning the portrayal of youth suicide and how it relates to suicide contagion.

The Fundamentals
Dr. Madelyn Gould, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University

Dr. Madelyn Gould highlights research on the complex relationship between media and suicide contagion and discusses the implications around safe messaging.

Youth Perspectives and Panel Discussions

Introduction & Youth Perspectives
Opening and Youth Panel
Shashank Joshi, MD, Emma Shark, and Chloe Sorensen

Local Palo Alto youth convey their perspectives on how the media can improve around depictions of mental illness and suicide.

Q&A with Speakers
Elena Kadvany, Anara Guard, Chloe Sorenson, Laura Kutch, Stan Collins, Dr. Madelyn Gould, Saila Kariat, and Jeff Collins

Speakers address audience questions related to the representation of suicide in the media.

Strategies for Implementing Suicide Prevention Guidelines and Working with the Media

Strategies & Partnership for Impact
Anara Guard
Suicide Prevention Specialist

Suicide Prevention Specialist Anara Guard reviews resources available for media professionals.

Strategies & Partnerships
Stan Collins
Consultant, Each Mind Matters

Stan lays out media engagement strategies for individuals interested in advocating for best practices around suicide prevention/suicide awareness stories.

Strategies & Partnerships
Jeff Collins
Vice President, After School App

Filmmaker Perspective
Saila Kariat
Writer and Producer of “The Valley” (2017)

Saila Kariat recounts her experience as a writer and producer of the film “The Valley”, which focuses on youth mental illness and suicide. She describes her experience of what it was like incorporating the suicide prevention media guidelines into the movie.

Resources and Slides

Youth Perspectives on Mental Health & the Media, directed, edited and produced by Chloe Sorensen, Ainsley Roh, Zoe Adelsheim and Daniel Howell.