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

School memorials after suicide: Helpful or harmful?

This issue brief draws from the research to provide guidance for responding to suicide in a manner that supports grieving while mitigating contagion.

Postvention Messaging, School-Based Postvention Messaging, Settings, School

Social Media Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention

The Entertainment Industries Council’s TEAM Up Social Media Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention provide tips for organizations and individuals communicating about mental health and suicide on social media to reduce stigma, increase help seeking behavior and help prevent suicide.

Channels, Social Media

Special considerations for telling your own story: Best practices for presentations by suicide loss and suicide attempt survivors

This document outlines best practices for suicide loss and suicide attempt survivors who are considering sharing their story with the public. The best practices were created by a group of experts in the suicide prevention community and include information on: assessing readiness to speak; considering family reactions and potential social ramifications; resources for safe messaging; speaking to the media; self-care; and other considerations.

Populations, Suicide Attempt Survivors, Channels, Presentations, Telling Personal Stories, Telling Your Own Story

Storytelling for Suicide Prevention Checklist

A resource from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Vibrant Emotional Health), which incorporates recommendations from Vibrant, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Suicide Awareness Voices in Education, and Activating Hope website. 

Telling Personal Stories, Telling Your Own Story

Suicide and mental illness in the media: A Mindframe resource for the mental health and suicide prevention sectors

Part of Australia’s Mindframe National Media initiative, this guide to help people working in suicide prevention and mental health promotion to effectively communicate with the media about suicide, mental health, and mental illness in a way that promotes sensitive and appropriate reporting. The guide includes suggestions for providing information about suicide, as well as general strategies for working with the media.

Channels, Working with News Media

Suicide clusters and contagion: Recognizing and addressing suicide contagion are essential to successful suicide postvention efforts

This article describes the problem of contagion and the ways that administrators can act to prevent it by establishing a crisis team, recognizing and monitoring at-risk students, and mobilizing community-wide responses.

Postvention Messaging, General Postvention Messaging, Settings, School

Suicide postvention in the school community

These 51 slides discuss considerations for postvention that involve all school personnel. Topics covered include contagion, risk identification, memorialization, and dealing with the media.

Postvention Messaging, School-Based Postvention Messaging, Settings, School

Suicide safe mobile app

Equips providers with education and support resources to assess patients’ risk of suicide, communicate effectively with patients and families, determine appropriate next steps, and make referrals to treatment and community resources.

Talking about suicide and LGBT populations

A consortium of organizations issued these recommendations to guide both news and social media in safe reporting of suicide events among LGBT populations that may be related to bullying. The recommendations are intended to promote vital, thoughtful public discussion about the issue and prevent contagion associated with sensational language. The Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations guide is a community-based resource for talking about suicide in ways that minimize contagion risk while at the same time expanding public conversations about the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, promoting the need for family support and acceptance, and encouraging help-seeking by LGBT people who may be contemplating suicide. In addition to 12 practical recommendations on how to talk about suicide in safe and accurate ways, the guide provides information about suicide contagion, bullying and suicide, talking about suicide in social media, and research findings on suicide. Program Objectives: Those who read the recommendations will learn to: 1.Reduce the use of language in public communications that may increase risk of suicide contagion. 2.Increase the use of language in public communications that fosters an accurate understanding of suicide and its causes. 3.Increase awareness of, and emphasis on, the need to support the well-being of LGBT people.  

Populations, LGBTQ+, Topics, LGBTQ+

Tech-savvy communications: A toolkit for nonprofits

A product of NPower Seattle and the Seattle nonprofit community, this toolkit is intended to help non-profits use technology to better serve their communities. The toolkit can help you identify your audience, create effective messaging, and evaluate communication tactics. It also offers in-depth guidance on using technology as a tool in effective communications.

Channels, Other Technology