Responsible Messaging: Using Effective Language to Prevent Suicide

Responsible Messaging: Using Effective Language to Prevent Suicide

Downloads mentioned in the webinar are available below the video.

Recorded March 4, 2020

Presented by Presented by John Ackerman, Ph.D Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health, The Ohio State University Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and Michelle Price, Director of Community Engagement at the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation


Links and Downloads


The way we talk about suicide matters. When used responsibly, language can provide hope, support, and engage the audience in life saving actions. If we do not think about how we talk about suicide, it can have dangerous consequences for those already having thoughts of suicide. Responsible messaging promotes hope. It helps erase stigma and provides support and encouragement. Suicide is preventable and the language we use can save lives.

About the Presenter

John Ackerman, Ph.D.

John P. Ackerman, PhD, serves as the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH). He directs community, school, and hospital efforts to educate others about the risks and warning signs of youth suicide. The CSPR helps schools implement evidence-based prevention strategies in Ohio schools such as the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention program. The focus of programming is on understanding school culture, building partnerships in the community, and increasing sustainability. Dr Ackerman and his team have supported over 150 schools in building suicide prevention programming into their curriculum. Efforts are underway to support out-of-school programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs to implement effective suicide prevention strategies as well.

Dr. Ackerman is a child and adolescent psychologist and supports the pediatric acute care clinical psychology internship track at NCH. Dr. Ackerman also serves on the Zero Suicide Implementation team at NCH and is involved in training on suicide screening and risk assessment in primary care and community settings. Dr. Ackerman has also supported Zero Suicide Institute trainings for pediatric providers with the EDC.

Dr. Ackerman has a strong interest in risk factors and treatments for mood disorders and suicide. He has contributed to research on neurocognitive risk factors contributing to adolescent suicidal behavior. Additional research has explored trends in youth self-poisoning and ways to encourage means safety in youth.

Dr. Ackerman has also been published in the area of suicide reporting by the media. He was awarded a grant by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to update and disseminate media guidelines on responsible suicide reporting and train college journalists throughout Ohio. Guidelines produced in collaboration with AAS, the Ohio University EW Scripps School of Journalism, media partners, and lived experience contributors are now featured by AAS in the “Media as Partners in Suicide Prevention” resources. Dr. Ackerman also serves on several AAS committees including the strategic media committee, autism and suicide committee, and the youth suicide prevention committee. He is a member of APA’s Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is also a member of the executive committee of the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition and part of the Franklin County Respond Now Postvention Network supporting schools following a student suicide.