Publisher of BIG Smith News Watch Leroy Smith signs onto the document supporting the guidelines
Editors of several media houses adopted guidelines for the responsible reporting on suicides and mental health issues.
The guidelines were prepared by the Guyana Press Association, with the guidance of the British High Commission, Dr Util Richmond-Thomas of the Health Ministry’s Mental Unit, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr Paloma Mohamed and psychologist Raiza Khan, the editors had a chance to amend the document before adopting it.
The guidelines are expected to be circulated within newsrooms and among media workers to “guide” their reporting on suicides and mental health issues.
Human Services Minister Dr Vindiya Persaud who addressed the editors at the brief meeting to adopt the guidelines, commended the adoption of these guidelines.
UK High Commissioner Jane Miller makes a point as Minister Vindiya Persaud looks on.
“Today by asking you to adhere to some guidelines and of your own volition to sign on to these guidelines, I think you will have something to determine how you prevent cases of suicides.”
The Minister said that preliminary information suggests that from the start of this year to last month 147 cases of suicides have already been recorded.
The Minister said these guidelines can help with preventing among other things “copycat” behaviour as she noted these guidelines once used can prevent harm.
Deputy British High Commissioner to Guyana Ray Davidson had engaged the GPA two years ago on adopting guidelines such as these. On Wednesday, Davidson along with British High Commissioner Jane Miller were on hand to see the adoption.
Through the adoption of these guidelines the media is not expected to detail the methods suicides as well as images of someone after they would have passed.
Journalists are being asked to exercise caution when describing the location also and instead of using videos/photographs that might be painful to loved ones, they should instead use images and words that engender hope and encourage persons to seek help.
The full guidelines can be found on pressassociation.gy or Guyana Press Association’s Facebook Page.
If you or anyone you know needs help please contact the Say No to Suicide hotline on Call: 223 0001 or 223 0009
Call or text: 623 4444 or 600 7896 or Safespace’s 24/7 Counselling Service – 655-7233.