Numerous studies indicate that certain media practices, such as disclosing details about a suicide publicly, can increase the number of suicides in a country and beyond, especially when it involves public figures whom many people look up to.

Hence, the role of the media in reporting on suicides is exceptionally significant. They play a crucial role in determining how these topics are covered, considering that public interest should be the "alpha and omega" in journalistic practice. Therefore, a legitimate question arises – why would it be in the public interest if someone commits suicide, especially in isolated cases?

The focus of media coverage should be on the rate of suicides in the country, whether it is increasing or not. Media outlets have a duty to consult experts, raise alarms about where individuals with suicidal tendencies or their close ones can seek help, investigate the potential reasons behind an elevated suicide rate, determine if the country has adequate resources and a sufficient number of healthcare professionals to address these issues, and seek solutions to the problem.

All these questions fall within the domain of public interest, as opposed to individual cases, which can only cause harm to the families of the deceased and, additionally, potentially trigger new cases.

For these reasons, a few years ago, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Public Relations Sector at the Ministry of Internal Affairs agreed that cases of suicides should not be included in daily police bulletins. The Ministry of Interior (MOI) currently adheres to this agreement, but sensationalistic headlines and reports about suicides can still be found in certain media outlets that learn about such cases through their channels.

Moreover, media outlets reporting such news often overlook the risk of what is known as the "Copycat" phenomenon, which increases when journalists provide details about how the suicide was carried out.

"Hanged." This was the front page of the New York Daily News on August 13, 2014. Above the large letters, which occupied nearly a third of the page, was a photo of comedian Robin Williams with a somber expression, who was found dead at the age of 63.

This headline, as assessed by The Washington Post, unfortunately contradicted the fundamental recommendations of the World Health Organization and suicide prevention experts on how the media should cover suicide, including reducing suicide rates, to avoid motivating certain individuals to do something similar.

Subsequent research showed that the news of Williams' death was associated with almost a 10% increase in the number of suicides in the United States in the five months that followed, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. This increase was particularly significant among men aged 30 to 44, whose suicide rate increased by nearly 13%. The rise in suicides by hanging, the method Williams used to take his own life, was even more pronounced, with a 32.3% increase. Many media outlets in the United States at that time explicitly explained the way the famous actor and comedian committed suicide, aiming to attract more clicks and a larger audience, without considering the consequences that subsequently emerged from further research.

Lars Mehlum, director of the Norwegian Center for Suicide Prevention, stated to The Washington Post at that time that many journalists did not mention the significant health problems Williams was grappling with (such as dementia), instead portraying a "glorified version of the event."

"This is not in line with international guidelines for media reporting on suicide. Another violation of these guidelines was the explicit reporting of the suicide method. The problem with these ways of reporting suicide in the case of a celebrity is, of course, the real danger of copycat suicides, and it seems that this has been confirmed through studies," he said.

Similar incidents occurred with the death of actress Marilyn Monroe, a suicide that the media extensively covered in great detail, leading to an increase in the suicide rate by 10-12% in the following period.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in its guidelines for reporting on suicide, urges not to publish suicide stories prominently in the media and to avoid unnecessary repetition. The guidelines also state not to use sensationalist headlines, not to use language that normalizes or portrays suicide as a constructive solution, not to explicitly describe the methods, not to disclose details regarding the location, and not to use any photographs or images.

Article 7 of the Code of Journalists in Macedonia stipulates that "the journalist will respect the privacy of the individual unless it is contrary to the public interest".

Furthermore, this Article states:

- The journalist must respect personal pain and sorrow.

- The right of the public to be informed cannot be an excuse for sensationalism.

- Encouraging public interest in graphic descriptions and details of committed crimes or tragedies should be avoided.

- Reports should consider the victim's family, not to increase their pain, and not to contribute to their stigmatization.

It is a fact that not all suicides can be prevented, but responsible reporting on suicides can help educate the public about these tragic events and their prevention, offer solutions for people at risk, reduce stigma, and inspire an open and positive dialogue on this sensitive topic.