BEND, OR -- Over the next week, newsrooms across Oregon will highlight the public health crisis of death by suicide in our state. The goal of this unprecedented collaboration is to not only put a spotlight on a problem that claimed the lives of more than 800 people last year, but also examine research into how prevention can, and does, work. And, we want to offer our listeners resources to help if they, or those they know, are in crisis.
KBND News is proud to take part in this broad effort and will air stories from other news outlets to provide a larger statewide context. While we aren't able to broadcast every story produced by various media, you can find them at BreakingTheSilenceOR.com.
One reason journalists tend to shy away from reporting on individual suicides, except in rare circumstances, is the worry that attention could cause a "contagion effect" or cause harm to surviving friends and family. This collaborative reporting project stemmed from a conversation about media coverage of suicide, facilitated by Lines for Life, a regional non-profit focused on suicide prevention. The week-long project recognizes that our silence, while well-intended, does not serve anyone. We can and should do better at addressing this issue, just as we would any public health emergency.
Reporting from each newsroom is independent, guided by local editors and best-suited for their local communities. However, we all hope that by working collaboratively and promoting each other's work, this group effort will allow us to shine a brighter light on this problem.
KBND News begins its coverage Monday morning, April 8, with a look at the unique challenges faced by our rural communities and the resources available to help.
~ Heather Roberts, KBND News Director