Suicide is a growing health issue in Turkey, more than 2800 people die by suicide and a total of 39300 people committed suicide in the last 20 years. The rate has risen particularly among persons between the ages of 15 and 24. Under the age of 35, recent numbers show that one commits suicide every 7 hours. Taking these growing numbers into account, suicide prevention is becoming a major issue in Turkey day by day.
On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Psychiatric Association of Turkey hosted a conference about ‘Suicide in Media’ on the 16th of September, in Istanbul. The purpose of this event was to raise the public awareness about suicide and suicide prevention strategies. The importance of responsible media reporting on suicide was pronounced. The findings of a study conducted by the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Section of the Psychiatric Association of Turkey on how suicide is reported in Turkish media was presented and discussed. The analysis of the top 6 daily newspapers with highest circulation rates screened for the portrayal of suicidal behavior showed 440 relevant articles in 3 months. The content analysis of the stories illustrated detailed presentations of the methods used, oversimplification of the causes, striking headlines and a lack of information about warning signs, alternatives and help providers. This conference attained extensive coverage in media afterwards. An initiative on implementation of a media guideline for reporting suicides has been subsequently launched with the cooperation of the Turkish Journalist Association and Psychiatric Association of Turkey.