Go to top of page

Plan media liaison

On this page

Your school’s emergency response team must contact the media liaison officer in their own sector office. Independent schools can contact headspace or their Chief Executive for media advice.

You should not and do not have to make comments to the media until you receive advice.

For media contacts in your sector see the get help – contact details page.

Media reporting

Research shows a potential link between inappropriate reporting of suicides and, later, an increase in copycat suicides.

Any media interest in a student’s death has the potential to disrupt a school’s postvention work. Your school’s emergency response team needs to do careful planning to protect against this.

You should discourage the media from reporting the student’s death. The media’s reporting can mean that students are more exposed to talk about traumatic death or suicide. This can increase the risk of contagion.

You should have one person on your school’s emergency response team liaise with your sector’s media advisor. This helps with consistent actions and accuracy.

Approaches to reporting a student’s death

Appropriate media reporting

Inappropriate media reporting

  • Works closely with CAMHS or other mental health professionals to present facts.
  • Talks positively about alternatives to suicide.
  • Includes discussion of depression and mental health.
  • Shares helplines and community resources.
  • Publicises risk factors and warning signs.
  • Goes into details about how the student died.
  • Uses distressing photographs or suicide notes.
  • Suggests overly simple reasons for the suicide.
  • Glorifies or sensationalises the person and the way they died.