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October 10, 2017
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MOH calls for greater empathy with suicide reporting

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017. 2:48 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Following the extensive media coverage of the suicide of David Doehm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is calling on Belizean media houses to change their approach when reporting suicides.

Nursing Administrator for the ministry’s Mental Health Unit, Eleanor Bennett, made the appeal today at the celebration of World Mental Health Day, noting that suicide is an extreme measure to address a mental health issue.

“It’s never okay for the mental health issue of any citizen to be broadcast over the media,” Bennett said. “Especially in the case of a suicide where the family left behind has to face a headline that discriminates and stigmatizes their loved one.”

Bennett added that such headlines sets the ministry and society back in terms of creating an enabling environment for talking about mental health issues. She called for all media practitioners to be more responsible while carrying out their job of keeping the nation informed.

Doehm was found dead in a room at the Ramada Belize City Princess last week, having committed suicide using nitrogen gas. Doehm also allegedly left a suicide note, which also garnered much media coverage.

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