Reporting Suicides Responsibly: Implementing Evidence-based Guidelines for the Media

Globally, deaths by suicide is a rising concern. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2019, India saw an average of 381 deaths by suicide per day- which translates to a life lost every 4 minutes. 

With such staggering numbers, there is an urgent need to focus on suicide prevention strategies. The media has a large role to play in this conversation – research shows that media coverage of suicides can influence suicide rates, both positively and negatively. 

To address this concern, we at the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, Indian Law Society, as a part of our project SPIRIT have designed this FREE ONLINE course for all media professionals including journalists and students of journalism.  

This course has been designed with inputs from various stakeholders, including: 

(i) Journalism students 

(ii) Media professionals

(iii) Suicide prevention experts, and

(iv) People with lived experience

Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion from the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, Indian Law Society, Pune.

This is a self-paced e-course available to participants at NO COST. The medium of instruction is English.

Copyright © 2021 Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, Indian Law Society, Pune. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be adapted, modified, distributed, reproduced, or shared by print, photocopy, or any other means. However, the online link and information to access this course may be shared with anyone provided the author is acknowledged in full.

Learning Outcomes

The course will equip you with:

  • A nuanced understanding of the complex issue of suicide in India
  • A deeper understanding on the impact & role of the media in suicide prevention 
  • Conceptual knowledge of evidence-based suicide reporting guidelines  
  • Practical knowledge to apply these guidelines while reporting on suicides
Methodology & Course Structure

This is a self-paced e-course. The content will be delivered predominantly through:

  1. Presentation videos facilitated by experts in the field
  2. Videos of media professionals & persons with lived experience

To enrich the virtual learning environment, interactive elements have been incorporated, such as, questions within presentations, guided exercises, and quizzes at the end of each module to apply the learnt material.

Extra reading material has also been provided to give an in-depth understanding of the topics covered. 

The content of the course is divided into 8 modules:

  1. Suicide in India: A reflection of data
  2. Perspective Building: Determinants of Suicide
  3. Why are we talking about the role of the Media in Suicide Prevention?
  4. Putting Guidelines to Practice- I
  5. Putting Guidelines to Practice- II
  6. Challenges to Implementation- Hearing from Journalists
  7. Additional Guidelines of Suicide Reporting
  8. Mental Health of Journalists

The course will be available to participants for a duration of 6 weeks, from the date of enrolment, with a possible extension to 8 weeks. For more details on this, please check the ‘Certification’ tab below.


Participants who complete the course within 6 weeks will receive a certificate of completion from the Centre for Mental Health Law Policy, Indian Law Society, Pune.

Please note that after 6 weeks, participants will have access to the modules & reading material for another 2 weeks but will NOT receive a certificate of completion.

Enrolment Process & Fee

This is an open course with a self-registration and enrolment process. It does not require an application and is available to all media professionals including journalists and students of journalism at NO COST.

To enrol for the course, please follow these steps:

  1. Signing up for the course: Please click on the “Sign Up” button.
  2. Creating an account: You will be directed to a page where you will need to create an account on ‘Moodle’ by choosing a username and password. You will also need to provide some other details. Please fill in your name (‘First name’ and ‘Surname’) as you would want it to appear on your certificate.
  3. Verifying your account: Once you have created an account, you will receive a verification email. If you do not see the email in your inbox, please check your spam or junk mail folders.
  4. Selecting the course: Once you have verified your email account, it will directly sign you in to ‘Moodle’ as a student. Here you will see a list of courses available. Please select “Reporting Suicides Responsibly: Implementing Evidence-based Guidelines for the Media” from this list to access the course.
  5. Enrolling yourself: Once you have selected the course, it will lead you to a page where you can enrol yourself by clicking on the “Enrol Me” button.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully enrolled for the course.

If you have any questions on the process, please write to us on [email protected].