Media reporting of Robin Williams' death

11 Aug, 2014


The MHF is deeply saddened to hear of Robin Williams' tragic death. If you are affected by his death and need someone to talk to, please reach out for help. Keep an eye on your friends and family who may be vulnerable, and encourage them to seek help if they need it.

Many, many people care very deeply about the experiences of people who are in distress, and want to help. A good first port of call is your GP, or phone a helpline such as Lifeline 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865.

We are closely monitoring media reporting of Mr Williams' death. Research has demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between suicide reporting and a rise in suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The risk increases when someone identifies with a person whose suicide is reported and when stories are prominent or repetitive. Stories about suicide have the greatest impact on people who are already vulnerable, and this risk increases when the story is about a celebrity.

When a well-known person dies by suicide, and the media covers it prominently and repeatedly (as with Mr Williams' death), vulnerable people are put at risk, and we hope the media will work with us to remind those people that help is available, and where to get it.

For more information about suicide prevention, see www.spinz.org.nz