SPEAKING OUT: Jo Shanks, organiser of Run for Mi Life, warned against the use of certain emotive photos when reporting on suicide.
SPEAKING OUT: Jo Shanks, organiser of Run for Mi Life, warned against the use of certain emotive photos when reporting on suicide. Peter Holt

Run organiser worries photos can add to problems

EVERYONE knows a picture tells a thousand words.

Organiser of Mackay's Run for MI Life Jo Shanks is worried about the words that pictures that ran alongside suicide stories could conjure.

She cited the front page of the Daily Mercury Thursday February 26 this year as an example.

"The photo from really high in the rafters took my breath away," Mrs Shanks said. "For someone not in the right frame of mind, that could glorify.

Daily Mercury’s front page in February this year.
Daily Mercury’s front page in February this year.

She advocated for balance between reporting suicide and highlighting solutions, and said introducing children to the debate could highlight the severity of the issue.

"With video games, when you die, you can just get up and go again. I feel like kids are becoming desensitized," she said.

"If we could get kids (touched by suicide) talking to kids about how it feels, it shows them this is the real deal."

Stats could lead to 'normalising' the issue

The use of emotive language has been disputed, but Mrs Shanks said it might help people realise how devastating suicide was to families.She also called for a greater focus on showing people they had plenty of other choices.

"I'm a little biased because I organize Run for MI Life," she said.

"But the solutions should be more noticeable.

"I think more (coverage) of these types of positive events, advocating for people getting involved in life and exercise, is important."

Help lines:

 Lifeline 13 11 14

 Headspace 1800 650 890

 Mackay Integrated Mental Health 4968 3893

 Beyondblue 1300 224 636

 Suicide call back service 1300 659 467



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