Knowledge and Resource Hub
28 May 2018

Suicide prevention media campaigns: A systematic literature review

This research reviewed evidence on the effectiveness of suicide prevention media campaigns. Studies that examined whether campaign exposure leads to improved knowledge and awareness of suicide found support for these  campaigns.  Most studies that considered whether campaign materials can achieve improvements in attitudes toward suicide also found support, however there were some exceptions. Some studies found that media campaigns could boost help-seeking, whereas others suggested that they made no difference, or only had an impact when particular sources of help or particular types of help-seeking were considered. Importantly, relatively few studies had sufficient statistical power to examine whether media campaigns had an impact on the behavioural outcome of suicides, but those that did demonstrated significant reductions. The authors suggested their review indicates that media campaigns should be considered in the suite of interventions that might be used to prevent suicide as there are strong suggestions that they can achieve positive results in terms of certain suicide-related outcomes. They caution however that care should be taken to ensure that campaign developers get the messaging of campaigns right.  Further work is needed to determine which messages work and which ones do not, and how effective messages should be disseminated.