PR Industry And Mindframe Attempt To Close Gap On Communication About Suicide

PR Industry And Mindframe Attempt To Close Gap On Communication About Suicide

Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) and Mindframe are inviting participation in a research project that is looking at the views and attitudes regarding communication about suicide held by public relations and communication professionals in Australia.

To address this gap in our understanding, a team of staff from the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, (who manage the Mindframe National Media Initiative) are conducting a brief online research project, in collaboration with the University of Newcastle. This complements a recent study conducted with media professionals in Australia.

Hunter Institute of Mental Health director Jaelea Skehan stated, “The Mindframe National Media Initiative has been working with media in Australia round the reporting of suicide since 2002 and in 2009 we partnered with PRIA for the first time to explore how principles related to communicating about mental illness and suicide may be integrated into the university training of public relations professionals.

“The current survey will be the first study internationally to  gather information about public relations and communication professionals’ attitudes towards the reporting and broader communication about suicide.  It complements a recent national study exploring the attitudes of media professionals.”

Within the suicide literature, there has been extensive research investigating the relationship between news reporting and suicide. This research has been used to develop evidence based recommendations regarding how to safely report on suicide.

However, there has been very little research looking at the views and attitudes of public relations and communication professionals regarding communication about suicide, nor their attitudes towards suicide more broadly.

The project continues PRIA’s 10-year partnership with the internationally regarded Mindframe programs developed and managed by Hunter Institute of Mental Health. PRIA’s academics from the accredited universities, RCG members and the national education manager of PRIA have sat on industry advisory committees for these programs for the past 10 years.

PRIA GM Graham Le Roux said, “PR and communication professionals are gatekeepers for safe, effective and impactful mental health and suicide communication. With one in four Australians impacted by mental illness, it is imperative that there is a well trained and experienced PR and communication industry to raise awareness and reduce stigma for suicide and mental illness in Australia.

“Over the past eight years, PRIA has worked in partnership with the Institute to ensure that PR and communication professionals are aware of the role they play in all aspects of mental health communication. We are committed to continuing and promoting high standards of mental health and suicide communication, and the use of mental health and suicide reporting guidelines.”

The project is seeking participation from a range of Australian-based public relations and communication professionals (over 18 years) to complete a brief online survey (10 minutes).

The survey will gain from getting a range of views; therefore, you do not need any prior knowledge relating to suicide to participate.

“While we know a lot about the impact of reporting and communicating about suicide in certain ways, we know less about the attitudes and beliefs of people working in the media and with the media,” Skehan concluded.

Take the survey here.

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