Chan Wen Li, Assistant Professor of Business Law, Director of Information and Communications (Business School) at University of Nottingham Malaysia’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was a special guest on Astro Awani’s Consider This programme on 13 April 2020.
She was interviewed by hosts Melisa Idris and Sharaad Kuttan on the topic: Mental Health - Prepared for the New Normal?
Chan, an academic at Nottingham University Business School Malaysia who is involved in interdisciplinary research on suicide prevention, spoke on the importance of safe media reporting practices on news about suicide as unsafe reporting could 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.
If you are in need of emotional support, do reach out to the Befrienders at 03-7956 8145 / email@example.com (available 24 hours). As part of the University of Nottingham Malaysia family you can reach out to our Wellbeing team: on WellbeingandLearning@nottingham.edu.my
For media enquiries please contact: Josephine Dionisappu, PR and Communications Manager University of Nottingham Malaysia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.
Posted on 17th April 2020