The saying that, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you” is not really true! Especially when it comes to how violent, self-destructive and suicidal behavior are reported or how people with mental illness are depicted in the news and creative media, says Alan Ross, Executive Director, Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center of NYC.

It goes beyond the recent news that have led some to embrace the myth that people with psychological disorders are more dangerous than those who don’t, that they commit more murders or are crazy, which encourages discrimination and enhances mental health stigma.

No, words and images can, literally, encourage people to hurt themselves, even, commit suicide. Of great importance, when you consider that suicide causes more deaths in the US each year than auto accidents; that 1 out of 5 Americans experience some form of mental illness and close to 10 million adults (4% of the population) have suicidal thoughts on an annual basis [sources: SAMHSA, Centers for Disease Control, AFSP].

That is the focus of Helping or Hurting? The Media’s Impact in Reporting Mental Health, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, 2:30 – 8:00 pm, at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, 20 Cooper Square, Manhattan presented by Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center in collaboration with NYU Journalism’s News & Documentary program.

For more information and to register, click here.