New guidance to help you communicate suicide

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) have published a new skills guide today.

It provides a framework for communicating with various stakeholders following the death of a colleague by suicide or possible suicide.

Trigger warning: Before reading the detailed guide, it is advised readers mentally prepare to be confronted with some challenging content and issues. Please see the end of this article for places to access additional guidance and support.

I welcome the publication of the CIPR and IoIC communicating suicide guide – and hope you never need to use it.

If you find yourself responsible for communicating suicide or possible suicide in your organisation, I know you’ll find this guide useful. It’s freely available to all and outlines a five-step process on how to prepare for, respond to, communicate, and manage communication related to a suicide internally and externally including with the press and authorities.

It also includes a section on the use of language, which is particularly helpful.

Further reading via the All Things IC blog: How to communicate the death of an employee.

CIPR communicating suicide graphic

Chair of the CIPR Health Group and IoIC Fellow, Rachel Royall said: “One suicide is one too many, however there were 5,224 suicides registered in England and Wales last year and around 10,000 calls taken by the Samaritans each day. Therefore communicating about suicide and mental health is a daily task for many working in internal communications and PR.

“The aim of this guide is to support those colleagues who have to do that. It provides them with a framework and signposts them to support for their own wellbeing. Many thanks to all the contributors to this guide and those who have looked over it. Your support is greatly appreciated and has helped to produce a valuable and important piece of work.”

I have read through the guide and you can download it for free online: CIPR and IoIC communicating suicide guide.

Communicating suicide guide


CIPR and IoIC communicating suicide guide

Helping organisations when they need to communicate suicide

The final section of the guide contains advice and guidance. Well done CIPR and IoIC and thank you for collaborating to create this guide.

For more information on other aspects of suicide, particularly suicide prevention, please refer to the following and make others aware of these resources:

General employee welfare

Employee Assistance Professionals Association:


Bereavement support services

Support after Suicide Partnership (online hub of support services)

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide:


Mental health and suicide prevention


National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA):

Zero Suicide



Support for families with children

Winston’s Wish:

Simon Says:

Useful guides and case studies 

Crisis management in the event of a suicide: A postvention toolkit for employers of-a-suicide-a-postvention-toolkit-for-employers/

Samaritans media guide for reporting suicide:

Samaritans' Media guidelines

How to communicate the death of an employee

Thank you for stopping by,


Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published on the All Things IC blog 27 October 2021.

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