Today the Deseret Morning News begins a six-day series titled "Teen suicide: Utah's grim reality."
Youth suicide has been declared an epidemic by the Utah Department of Health, and during the past 25 years the rate of teen suicide has tripled in Utah. It is clearly an issue that deserves our full attention.
"The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt," writes Kay Redfield Jamison, an international authority and researcher on mental illness.
But there are some special factors to be considered when writing about teen suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined general issues public officials and health and media professionals should consider when reporting about suicide. We have carefully evaluated these recommendations in gathering information and writing our stories. The CDC also makes observations about how suicide prevention can be strengthened through specific types of news coverage. We also considered this information.
There has been much concern about media-related suicide contagion, a phenomenon in which exposure to the suicide or suicidal behavior of one or more people influences others to commit or attempt suicide.This is, indeed, a sensitive subject one we believe takes extra care as we present nearly a week's worth of coverage on the issue.
John Hughes, editor
Deseret Morning News