In addition to creating suicide prevention messages that are strategic, safe, and contribute to a Positive Narrative about suicide prevention, it is important to follow specific guidelines or recommendations that apply to your particular messages. After planning your Strategy, use the selection menu below to see Guidelines related to various goals, populations, channels, topics and other areas that may relate to your communications plan.

The Guidelines listed here address specific areas—in other words, they’ll be useful in developing some kinds of messages but not others. For example, if  your plan includes using a video, you can consult the “AAS Criteria for Educational Videos on Youth Suicide.” If you are a suicide loss or attempt survivor planning to tell your story to the public, you can refer to “Special considerations for telling your own story: Best practices for presentations by suicide loss and suicide attempt survivors.” For resources related to Strategy, Safety, and Positive Narrative, see those pages.

The Guidelines listed here are not meant to be a comprehensive list of messaging resources but offer a few best resources for key areas. If you can’t find the category you are looking for, we have not yet listed a guideline for that area.

Please visit the SPRC online library for an extenitsive collection of suicide prevention resources.

Graphic with a circle divided into three equal parts, labeled Positive Narrative, Safety, and Guidelines, encompassed by a circle labeled Strategy

How “Guidelines” Fits Into the Framework

The Guidelines component of the Framework comes into play after first thinking through your Strategy, including goals, audience, channels, and other key decisions. After you have your Strategy, visit this page to check whether there are any guidelines or best practices that apply. All messages should also adhere to Safety recommendations and in some way promote a Positive Narrative about suicide prevention by including actions, solutions, successes, or resources.

All Guidelines

Topics Category

Making headlines: A guide to engaging the media in suicide prevention in California

This guide provides people engaged in suicide prevention with the tools necessary to serve as effective media spokespersons and to generate media coverage in order to create awareness of this important issue. It can help them to understand the needs of the news media as part of an effective media outreach program.

Channels, Working with News Media

Mayors' resource guide on behavioral health issues

This guide helps ensure that mayors and municipal leaders have the information they need to address the behavioral health needs of their community’s children, adults, and families by supporting the prevention and treatment of mental illness and recovery from mental illness.

Settings, Mental Health Care

Media guidelines for school administrators who may interact with reporters about youth suicide

This brief manual explores how media accounts can actually serve as a suicide prevention tool by: assisting news professionals to report responsibly and accurately; using a media request for information as an opportunity to influence the contents of the story; emphasizing the importance of listing available community resources for individuals at-risk and describing what is being done to promote safety for vulnerable individuals in the aftermath of a suicide; and warning against the aspects of news coverage that may promote copycat suicides.

Populations, Youth, Channels, Working with News Media, Settings, School, Topics, Youth

Misdirections in bullying prevention & response (Video)

A 6-minute video, from, discusses approaches to avoid in bullying prevention and response, drawing on the best evidence and expert opinion. It cautions against overstating the suicide-bullying relationship and offers messaging guidance for talking about bullying and suicide.

Topics, Bullying

Peer support for mental health: Recent research

A list of research articles on the website of the organization Peers for Progress. It includes recent research, review papers, and featured reports.

Goals and Activities, Peer Support

Recommendations for Blogging on Suicide

The Recommendations are meant to assist bloggers in blogging about suicide safely, and ultimately maximize the effectiveness of the communicators’ efforts and reduce the risk of harmful effects of unsafe messaging on suicide.

Channels, Blogging

Recommendations for Reporting on Mass Shootings

The recommendations address how media covers an incident where a person (or a small group) shoots multiple others in a public setting. The tragedies at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Orlando are examples of mass shootings. These recommendations are not intended to address gang violence or murder­ suicide (i.e. intimate partner violence).

Channels, Working with News Media

Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide

Released in 2011 and updated in 2019, the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide were developed by leading experts in suicide prevention and in collaboration with several international suicide prevention and public health organizations, schools of journalism, media organizations and key journalists as well as Internet safety experts. The research-based recommendations include suggestions for online media, message boards, bloggers, and “citizen journalists.”

Channels, Working with News Media, Social Media

Relationship between the economy, unemployment and suicide

Talking points on the economy, unemployment, and suicide prepared in November 2008. URLs updated in June of 2012.

Settings, Workplace, Topics, Economy and Unemployment

SAMHSA's 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Webpage

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as national leads for 988, developed this webpage of resources and information to help states, territories, tribes, mental health and substance use disorder professionals, and others prepare for the July 16, 2022 transition to 988. 

Topics, 988