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Reporting on suicide

EDITOR: As a community member and child and adolescent psychiatrist, I read with concern Saturday's article about the possible death by suicide of 15-year-old Santa Rosa resident Charlotte Molinari ("SR teen's body found"). Several aspects of the article were not in keeping with national expert guidelines for the reporting on suicide in order to help prevent copy-cat acts.

More than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. The magnitude of the increase is related to the amount, duration and prominence of coverage.

The prominent placement of this article, the level of detail included in the article and an online link "for more photos from the search," suggest that The Press Democrat may be unfamiliar with these statistics. It is my hope that this letter might be published with specific resources for teens and families in distress:

Sonoma County Psychiatric Emergency Services, 576-8181.

U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800)?273-8255.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Depression Resource Center, www.aacap.org/cs/Depression.ResourceCenter.

http://reportingonsuicide.org.

DR. SUSAN MILAM-MILLER

Santa Rosa


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