University of Nottingham Malaysia
University of Nottingham

Academic Showcase

Dr Chan Wen Li

Mental Health - Prepared for the New Normal? - Dr Chan Wen Li

Guest on Astro Awani’s 'Consider This' programme. Interviewed by hosts Melisa Idris and Sharaad Kuttan.

Type of showcase
  • Interview
Field of study
  • Health Sciences
  • Science and Technology
Academic name
+6 (03) 8924 8249

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Ms Chan is involved in interdisciplinary research on suicide prevention and speaks on the importance of safe media reporting practices regarding suicide. Research shows that unsafe reporting can have a negative impact in triggering imitative suicidal behaviour by vulnerable individuals.

“Media practitioners play a crucial role in the appropriate dissemination of information while raising awareness on suicide. Research has established that media reports about suicide can either minimise or increase the risk of imitative suicidal behaviour depending on the way such reports are framed and the content that is reported,” she explained.

Chan further explains that media coverage on suicide that is sensationalised, repetitive and contain explicit references to the method and location of suicides, is associated with the triggering of subsequent suicides by vulnerable individuals.

She added that, on the other hand, stories that demonstrate positive coping and help-seeking have been shown to contribute to the prevention of suicide.

“This protective effect of safe reporting practices is termed the ‘Papageno effect’, named after a character in Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’ who abandons a suicide attempt upon being shown a different way to resolve his problems.”

Chan currently leads a research project funded by the Ministry of Education that engages with various suicide-prevention stakeholders - including healthcare professionals and media practitioners - on issues around practices of safe reporting of suicide-related news in Malaysia. The project also discusses ways to encourage the raising of awareness and the implementation of such practices.

In addition, the multi-disciplinary research team, which consists of researchers from private and public institutions, is also involved in outreach efforts and has organised media training workshops on safe reporting supported by experts in media engagement on suicide prevention from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

“I am passionate about mental health awareness and suicide prevention and I am glad to have been able to share a little bit about my research with the Malaysian public. I advise those who are in need of emotional support, especially during this crucial time, to reach out to the many helplines and support groups available,” Chan said.

“We are proud of Wen Li and her research team who champion the importance of safe media reporting on suicide news. The University of Nottingham takes our staff and students’ wellbeing very seriously, and we have a dedicated Wellbeing team that our students and staff can reach out to,” said Professor Graham Kendall, CEO and Provost of University of Nottingham Malaysia.


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