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Helping Survivors Creating Safe Video Messaging

By Sue Eastgard, MSW, Retired Director, Youth Suicide Prevention Program Washington State

If your child or teen has died by suicide it is understandable if you want to devote time and resources to preventing future suicidal tragedies. Here are a few words of advice:

  • There are already a number of excellent videos and educational curricula available to schools and community groups. Check out the list of recommended suicide prevention videos on the AAS website - http://www.suicidology.org/web/guest/stats-and-tools/videos or review the list of educational curriculum that have been placed on the Best Practices Registry- http://www2.sprc.org/bpr/index 
  • If you decide to produce an educational video, consult the guidelines on the AAS website - http://www.suicidology.org/web/guest/video-guidelines.  The most important thing to remember is that an educational video should teach, model and emphasize developmentally appropriate help-giving and help-seeking behaviors. The guidelines recommend that a video’s heroes, or main characters, are the helpers.
  • Avoid producing videos that depict someone engaging in suicidal behavior or describing methods of suicide. This can actually increase risk for suicidal behavior among vulnerable youth. Also avoid producing videos that primarily depict previously depressed or suicidal youth describing their depression and/or suicidal behavior. This can inadvertently glorify or romanticize suicidal thinking and behavior.
  • And, finally, if you decide to produce a video, make it short enough to allow time for discussion as a part of that day’s lesson. 

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