Towards the coding of suicide-related media articles to support analysis of adherence to media guidelines

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


How suicide is reported in the media has been linked to imitational suicidal behaviour among vulnerable people, particularly when the report is in relation to the suicide of a celebrity. This has led to the development guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide. However, there is an opportunity to develop a comprehensive coding scheme for assessing media adherence to these guidelines.

Aims and objectives
This research seeks to develop a coding protocol for assessing responsible reporting of suicide.

The coding protocol will be developed in two stages; (i) a review of the existing literature on responsible reporting of suicide to develop the protocol, and (ii) application of the coding protocol to be applied to a relevant dataset. A dataset has been provided by Headline, which is Ireland’s national media programme for responsible reporting, and representation of mental ill health and suicide. The overall dataset contains over 5,000 articles from 2019-2021 related to either suicide or mental ill health. This project focuses on a subsample of articles within this dataset, which focus on suicidal behaviours.

Results are reported in terms of (i) how responsible reporting of suicide has been measured in the past research, (ii) how the existing categories actually apply to the Headline dataset, and (iii) suggestions as to how improve the coding process to assess the responsible reporting of suicide.

The coding protocol is discussed in terms of; (i) the challenges associated with classifying articles related to suicide within the media, and (ii) the need for standardised coding protocols within this domain. This coding scheme would allow us to track and analyse how media articles adhere to guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 Jul 2023
Event International Digital Mental Health & Wellbeing Conference - Ulster University, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Jun 202323 Jun 2023
Conference number: 1


Conference International Digital Mental Health & Wellbeing Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Media reporting
  • mental health


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