The Australian media will be urged to report on suicide and related issues under new guidelines released by the Australian Press Council.

The council has released new standards of practice for reporting suicide and discussing related issues, which will be binding on all publications affiliated with the council, including all major newspapers and magazines around Australia.

Traditionally, the Australian media has been reticent to report on suicides.

"The new standards emphasise that general reporting and comment on issues relating to suicide can be of substantial public benefit," council chair Julian Disney said in a statement.


"It can help to improve public understanding of causes and warning signs, have a deterrent effect on people contemplating suicide, bring comfort to affected relatives or friends, or promote further public or private action to prevent suicide.

"There should not be a taboo on reporting of this kind."

Professor Disney said the new guidelines were developed after extensive consultation with mental health experts, editors and journalists, and promoted responsible reporting of suicides.

"It is important to be very careful, however, when the material is likely to be read or seen by people who may be especially vulnerable (for example, because of their age or mental health) and relates to suicides by their peers or by celebrities."

The new standards include restrictions on naming people who have died by suicide, providing details about methods of suicide, and using inappropriate language.