The media can shape the opinions, beliefs, and attitudes of the public towards Veterans, Veterans’ issues, and Veteran suicide. Given the Lionel Desmond murder-suicide was covered extensively in Canadian media, the authors read and analyzed the tone and content of Canadian newspaper coverage of this incident, using social science methods. On the one hand, the authors found the media sometimes violated some of the best practice guidelines about how to responsibly report suicide and mental health when writing about the Lionel Desmond incident, for example, rarely including help-seeking information. On the other hand, journalists typically wrote about this incident in compassionate terms, calling for more action to help Veterans’ mental health, as well as more support for Veterans who are in transition to civilian life. In sum, the study reveals that much media coverage of the Lionel Desmond incident adhered to reporting guidelines, but there also remains room for improvement. The results indicate a need for more educational resources and better outreach to help Canadian journalists responsibly report issues around Veterans’ mental health and Veteran suicide.
Introduction: Evidence suggests the media plays an important role in shaping public beliefs and attitudes toward societal issues including mental illness, suicide, and Veterans’ issues. There is a lack of research examining media portrayals of these issues in Canada. The present study aims to assess the tone and content of media coverage of the Lionel Desmond murder-suicide by: 1) assessing adherence to reporting recommendations for suicide and mental illness in Canadian newspaper articles and 2) documenting and analyzing common themes and narratives contained in these articles. Methods: All articles mentioning the term “Lionel Desmond” were systematically retrieved from over 40 Canadian newspapers throughout 2017 and coded for the presence or absence of key content characteristics using quantitative and qualitative methods. Results: Analysis revealed over half of the articles (65.2%) described the suicide method used by Desmond and almost all (98.5%) failed to provide help-seeking information for readers. Moreover, 89% of articles did not include quotes by mental health experts and 64% did not feature any Veteran voices in their coverage. The qualitative analysis revealed four commonly occurring themes: 1) negative impact of going to war, 2) challenges of transition from military to civilian life, 3) calls to action, and 4) commemorating the life of Desmond and family. Discussion: Taken together, the results indicate room for improvement in the reporting of Veteran mental health and suicide, suggesting a need for more educational resources and outreach to help Canadian journalists responsibly report these issues.
Introduction : D’après les données probantes, les médias jouent un rôle important pour façonner les opinions et les attitudes du public envers des enjeux sociétaux comme la maladie mentale, le suicide et les problèmes des vétérans. Peu de recherches portent sur le portrait que font les médias de ces enjeux au Canada. La présente étude vise à évaluer le ton et le contenu de la couverture médiatique des meurtres suivis du suicide de Lionel Desmond en 1) évaluant le respect de la transmission des recommandations sur le suicide et la maladie mentale dans les articles de journaux canadiens et en 2) étayant et analysant les thèmes et les récits communs à ces articles. Méthodologie : Les auteurs ont extrait systématiquement tous les articles mentionnant le terme « Lionel Desmond » de plus de 40 journaux canadiens en 2017 et les ont codés en fonction de la présence ou de l’absence de caractéristiques clés de contenu au moyen des méthodologies quantitative et qualitative. Résultats : L’analyse a révélé que plus de la moitié des articles (65,2 %) décrivait le mode de suicide utilisé par Lionel Desmond et que presque tous (98,5 %) omettaient de fournir aux lecteurs de l’information pour obtenir de l’aide. De plus, 89 % n’incluaient pas de citations d’experts en santé mentale, et 64 % ne contenaient le point de vue d’aucun vétéran. L’analyse qualitative a révélé quatre thèmes fréquents : 1) les répercussions négatives de la participation à la guerre, 2) les difficultés liées à la transition de la vie militaire à la vie civile, 3) les appels à l’action et 4) la commémoration de la vie de Lionel Desmond et de sa famille. Discussion : Ensemble, les résultats démontrent qu’il est possible d’améliorer la couverture de la santé mentale et du suicide chez les vétérans, ce qui fait ressortir la nécessité de créer plus de ressources pédagogiques et de services d’approche pour aider les journalistes canadiens à rendre compte de ces enjeux de manière responsable.
Evidence suggests the media plays an important role in shaping public beliefs and attitudes toward various societal issues, including mental illness. On one hand, holistic and balanced portrayals of mental illness, and people with mental illness, can help reduce stigma by increasing knowledge, understanding, and empathy. On the other hand, sensational and one-dimensional portrayals of mental illness, and people with mental illness, can create and perpetuate inaccurate perceptions and erroneous stereotypes that can contribute to stigma, fear, and prejudice.1–4
In the case of suicide, research indicates the media can play a role in contributing to suicide contagion. For example, epidemiological studies indicate increases in suicidal behaviour are often observed following the suicide of a prominent peer or notable figure.5–7 Studies show these increases are associated with sensational and detailed media coverage of the suicide.8,9
It is theorized that at-risk consumers of such irresponsible media coverage may come to identify with the deceased, leading them to conclude that suicide is a viable solution to ongoing struggles. This is especially true when the consumer perceives a high degree of homophily between themselves and the deceased, for example, similarity in age, sex, occupation, and life experience.6 This media-propelled increase in suicidality is known as the Werther effect.10,11
Importantly, studies show media portrayals of Veterans are often stereotypical and unbalanced, frequently framing them in a narrow, one-dimensional manner as either victims, villains, or heroes.12–16 For portrayals of Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research from several different jurisdictions reveals these media portrayals tend to focus on crime and violence, with little focus on recovery or rehabilitation.17–20 Similarly, a U.S. study shows that media reports of Veteran suicide tend to be different than civilian suicide, with Veteran suicide more frequently attributed to a single cause, and coverage less often providing help-seeking information.21 These findings are worrying, given the aforementioned research indicating that irresponsible reporting can lead to public stigma as well as suicide contagion.
Given this situation, the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy22 details several media-related targets for action to prevent Veteran suicide and promote mental health such as “media engagement on responsible reporting of suicide,”22(p. 15) “working to promote responsible media reporting,”22 (p. 19) as well as “encourage safe media reporting of suicide.”22 (p. 31) Such action is vitally important as this strategy notes Veterans are significantly more likely to die by suicide than similarly-aged non-Veterans, also noting that 5.8% of Veterans have experienced past-year suicidal ideation, while 1.0% had a past-year suicide attempt.22
Importantly, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in collaboration with journalists and other mental health experts, have developed best practice guidelines to encourage the responsible reporting of mental illness and suicide, known as Mindset, now in its third edition.23 These guidelines are available on a dedicated website (and as a short glossy booklet) with over 5,000 distributed to journalists across Canada. Mindset includes best-practice, bullet-pointed lists that attempt to guide journalists to avoid harmful coverage, while encouraging the inclusion of protective information. For example, the suicide bullet points include “do tell others considering suicide how they can get help”23 (p. 40) and “do not describe the method used,”23 (p. 40) while the mental illness bullet points include “do not reinforce stereotypes”23 (p. 12) and “strive to include quotes from those affected or others like them.”23 (p. 12)
Several studies have examined adherence to Mindset reporting guidelines in relation to generic media coverage of suicide and mental illness.24,25 To the authors’ knowledge, there have been no formal studies examining media reporting of suicide or mental illness in relation to Canadian Veterans. This lack of research is concerning, given the potential role of the media in determining public stigma, as well as influencing possible suicide contagion.
In this article, the authors attempt to address this deficit in the literature by conducting an in-depth case study, analyzing media coverage of the Lionel Desmond incident. Desmond was a retired Canadian Armed Forces corporal who served in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011 and medically discharged from the army in 2015. On Jan. 3, 2017, police found Desmond dead at home, along with his wife, daughter, and mother, with the authorities concluding that this was a triple murder-suicide perpetrated by Desmond. While this incident is a highly anomalous case, it was chosen for case study as it received considerable media attention at the time and became a prominent part of wider public discourse about Veterans, as well as a talking point among the wider Veteran community.
This study is propelled by two principal objectives. First, the authors assess adherence to core Mindset reporting recommendations in Canadian media coverage of the Lionel Desmond incident. Second, the authors document and analyze common themes and narratives contained in these Canadian media articles.
The authors used systematic and validated methods to retrieve and code newspaper articles about the Lionel Desmond incident. All articles were obtained using Factiva, an online news archive offering access to a range of Canadian print and online news. For this study, the authors searched over 40 high-profile newspapers, including The Globe & Mail, the National Post, and a range of regional and metropolitan newspapers. All articles mentioning the term “Lionel Desmond” between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017 were systematically retrieved from these newspapers. Articles were included based on key inclusion/exclusion criteria, listed in Table 1.
Included articles were then coded for key characteristics (article length, date, type of news source, and geographic scope) as well as the presence or absence of eight key content variables derived from the aforementioned Mindset recommendations (see Table 2). Four were suicide-specific (items 1-4) and four were mental illness-specific (items 5-8). Given the violent nature of the incident, the article had to draw a broader connection between mental illness and violence to be coded as “yes” for negatively linking danger/violence to mental illness, for example, by implying that all people with PTSD are prone to violence.
|Type of article||Article written by journalist or editorial staff||Contributed content (e.g., opinion piece, letter to the editor), advice columns, obituaries, calendars, reviews, transcripts of broadcasts, or interviews|
|Focus||Article focuses on Lionel Desmond incident||Article makes passing or incidental reference to Lionel Desmond|
|#||Codes to assess tone and content|
|1||The piece mentions the suicide method used (yes/no)|
|2||The piece gives a monocausal explanation of suicide (yes/no)|
|3||The piece provides help-seeking information (yes/no)|
|4||The piece attempts to educate the public about suicide (yes/no)|
|5||The piece is stigmatizing in tone and/or content (yes/ no)|
|6||The piece negatively links danger and/or violence to mental illness (yes/no)|
|7||The piece includes quotes from mental health experts (yes/no)|
|8||The piece includes Veteran voices (yes/no)|
Article retrieval and coding was performed by the last author, who has led several previous studies of media coverage of suicide and mental illness and was trained and supervised by the first author in coding for the present study. As part of this training, the first and last author coded a random subset of articles (n = 20) at the beginning of the study to assess inter-rater reliability. Kappa coefficients were calculated for each variable and interpreted using Landis and Koch’s guidelines: 0.01-0.20 (slight agreement), 0.21-0.30 (fair), 0.41-0.60 (moderate), 0.61-0.80 (substantial), and 0.81-1.00 (almost perfect).26 Of the eight variables, four had almost perfect agreement (items 1,2,3, and 5), while four had substantial agreement (items 4,6,7, and 8), with an average coefficient of 0.84 (range 0.63-1.00) across items. The authors discussed items with lower scores to clarify discrepancies and come to agreement about future coding. All articles were then coded by the last author, with codes entered into Excel for storage and subsequent analysis. Descriptive statistics were then produced to assess adherence to each content variable in the eight-item framework, summarized as frequency counts and proportions.
An inductive qualitative thematic analysis was also conducted to better understand prominent narratives and common themes traversing the dataset, which may not be captured by the eight-item coding framework. The analysis followed standard procedure27 to ensure rigour, which involved: 1) immersion in the data through reading and re-reading articles, 2) the creation of open codes that described meaningful chunks of data, verified by the first author who read a subset of articles, 3) connection and categorization of themes, and 4) a round of focused coding whereby the finalized codes were applied across the dataset.
A total of 230 articles were retrieved using the search terms over the 12-month period. Of these, 138 were excluded as duplicates. A further 26 were excluded using the inclusion and exclusion criteria (see Figure 1 for breakdown). This procedure led to 66 usable articles that were coded and included in analysis and are listed in Appendix 1. Of note, 63% of the articles were published in the two weeks immediately following the incident in Jan. 2017.
Levels of adherence to Mindset guidelines are shown in Tables 3 and 4, indicating several guidelines were commonly violated while others were commonly followed. In terms of violations, almost all (98.5%) failed to provide help-seeking information for readers, 89.0% of articles did not include quotes by mental health experts, and 64.0% did not feature any Veteran voices in their coverage of the incident. Furthermore, over half of the included articles (65.2%) described the suicide method used by Desmond, though it is worth noting the method of suicide (firearms) was the same means of death that was inflicted on the three homicide victims, meaning that journalists may have felt duty bound to report these extreme circumstances when the use of firearms in violent crime is an issue of public interest.
Only approximately 1 in 10 articles (10.6%) were stigmatizing in tone and/or content, and only 15.0% of articles attributed Desmond’s suicide to a single cause, typically PTSD. Of note, stigmatizing comments and monocausal explanations did not emanate from journalists themselves, but often appeared in the form of sourced quotes from people in the community or other third parties.
Other variables showed room for improvement. For example, one-third of articles drew a broader link between violence and mental illness, often implying that Veterans with PTSD pose a danger to others, sometimes by reciting similar cases to Lionel Desmond. Similarly, only one-third of articles (31.8%) attempted to educate readers about the issue of suicide, for example, providing statistics and/or describing various risk factors for Veteran suicide.
The thematic analysis revealed four key narratives, listed in order from most to least prominent: 1) negative impact of going to war, 2) challenges of transition from military to civilian life, 3) calls to action, and 4) commemorating the life of Lionel Desmond and family.
|Variable – Suicide||Code||Count (%) (n = 66)|
|Method described||Yes||43 (65.2)|
|Monocausal explanation||Yes||10 (15.2)|
|Help information provided||Yes||1 (1.5)|
|Educates about the issue of suicide||Yes||21 (31.8)|
|Variable — Mental Health||Code||Count (%) (n = 66)|
|Stigmatizing in tone and/or content||Yes||7 (10.6)|
|Danger/violence linked to mental illness||Yes||22 (33.3)|
|Mental health expert quoted (e.g., psychiatrist)||Yes||7 (10.6)|
|Veteran quoted||Yes||24 (36.4)|
The most prominent narrative was an exploration within articles of the negative impact of going to war during military service. Indeed, many articles described how Veterans often face serious mental health issues, such as PTSD as well as suicidality, attributing such issues to the experience of being “changed” or “damaged” by war (A18, A22). For example, one article stated that “the carnage on the battlefield left its mark on Lionel Desmond” (A52) and another stated that “ever since his return from a particularly brutal tour that started in 2007, he had been mentally disturbed … Desmond had turned from a friendly, fun, successful young man into a depressed, suicidal killer” (A22).
While most focused exclusively on Desmond’s personal struggle, some discussed the negative impact of going to war more generally, highlighting findings from a range of recent reports, surveys and investigations. Notably, several made a link between being mentally “wounded” by war and Veteran suicide. Phrases used in these instances included “tortured minds” (A39) and “hidden wounds” (A10). Some highlighted other negative impacts deriving from military service in a warzone, including long-term physical injuries (A15, A32, A40, A50), difficulty finding employment, and problems maintaining relationships (A32, A53).
Articles frequently explored the many challenges faced during the transition from military to civilian life. The vast majority described Desmond’s re-integration issues alongside his struggle to access supports and services, with one noting that “(Desmond) struggled to navigate the (Veterans Affairs Canada) system to get the support he needed” (A61) and another writing, “Are there enough resources to care for all the PTSD victims coming back from our so-called peacekeeping missions? Are our political masters taking this seriously enough? What happened to Lionel Desmond that he was allowed to get so desperate?” (A41)
Indeed, journalists often used the Desmond incident as an opportunity to discuss the experience of Veterans more broadly by highlighting current gaps and the importance of proper supports, with one article stating, “the killings fueled a national debate about how Canada treats former soldiers, sailors and airmen living with PTSD” (A52), and another that, “About 10,000 military members are discharged every year and one-third of them struggle to adjust to life outside the Canadian Armed Forces, government research shows” (A56). This theme is encapsulated in the headline of one article: “Feds slow to help Veterans; Troops suffering with long waits to get assistance they need, documents show” (A18).
The third prominent theme involved specific calls to action for the government, from demands for a public inquiry into the murder-suicide to calls for broader system reform. Articles frequently featured statements from family members, the Veteran community, and the public about the importance of conducting an inquiry to provide answers about why and how the incident occurred as well as to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. For example, one article quoted Barry Westholm, a retired master warrant officer, stating “maybe this tragedy could have been prevented … It takes something like this to make them do something” (A66).
Additionally, articles often highlighted the need for systematic reforms more broadly, such as greater resources and funding allocated to Veteran-specific supports and services. A particularly emblematic example comes from an editorial published by the Toronto Star (A12):
the deaths of Lionel Desmond and his family members once again underlines the need for the Canadian government to provide dramatically more help for soldiers and Veterans with PTSD. Indeed, we should all be ashamed that there is so little support for military personnel … the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs need to do a far better job of ensuring the physical and mental health of people who risked their lives for Canada.
Some articles described the life of the Desmond family prior to the murder-suicide, recounting details such as recent accomplishments and details of Desmond’s upbringing and his military career. Several articles included tributes paid to Desmond from Veterans and family members, highlighting his warm smile and friendly personality (A18, A29, A34, A35, A52) and “can-do attitude” (A25), as well as describing him as a “hero” and “go-to-guy” (A2, A18). In addition to commemorating Desmond’s life, many also provided readers with a glimpse into the lives and personalities of his family. For example, his wife’s nursing career as reflecting her caring nature, his daughter’s dream of becoming a veterinarian, and his mother’s contributions to the local community (A4, A34, A36). Alongside these details, some articles poignantly reflected on the gravity of loss felt by their loved ones. For example, one article was based on an interview with Desmond’s mother-in-law, writing (A50):
Her voice trails off as she ponders a future without her beloved daughter Shanna, her bubbly grandchild Aaliyah and the sweet smile of Lionel’s mother, Brenda Desmond … The other day she opened the kitchen cupboard and spotted a white ceramic mug that Aaliyah had made for her father. In black lettering, Aaliyah had written: “Don’t be angry Daddy — have a cup of tea.”
A key finding of this study is that several Mindset guidelines were commonly violated in reporting the Lionel Desmond incident while several others were commonly followed. On the one hand, almost all articles failed to include help-seeking information and only a small minority of articles quoted a mental health expert, while one-third negatively linked danger and/or violence to mental illness. On the other hand, the vast majority of articles did not use stigmatizing language or attribute the suicide to a single cause, while over one in three articles quoted a Veteran in the text. When stigmatizing language or monocausal explanations were used, they mainly came as quotes from journalistic sources.
However, the quantitative analysis gives an incomplete picture, and the qualitative analysis indicates journalists frequently used the Lionel Desmond incident to raise awareness of important issues affecting Canadian Veterans, often including a call to arms in areas such as transitional support, Veteran mental health, and suicide prevention. Such writing is helpful, as it brings attention to Veterans’ issues, and may act to catalyze public and policy change in terms of services and supports for Veterans and their mental health. It is worth mentioning that systematic racism within the health system or the military did not emerge as a theme in this 2017 analysis, even though Desmond was an African Nova-Scotian and more recent news reports indicate that racism may have been a factor contributing to his deterioration.28,29
As stated in the introduction, the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy22 details several media-related targets for action to prevent Veteran suicide and promote mental health, such as “media engagement on responsible reporting of suicide,”22(p. 15) “working to promote responsible media reporting,”22(p. 19) as well as “encourage safe media reporting of suicide.”22(p. 31) However, this strategy avoids specific advice beyond these generic statements. The present study can help in this regard, pointing to several actions that can help improve media coverage of Veterans’ mental health and suicide.
First, the results reveal a need for proactive outreach with journalists, to encourage them to better follow Mindset23 reporting recommendations for both Veteran suicide and Veteran mental health. For cases of Veteran suicide, the findings indicate educational outreach to journalists should specifically encourage them to: 1) not go into detail about the method used, 2) include help-line numbers, online resources, and other information about seeking help, and 3) use their voice to educate the public about suicide. For Veteran mental health, journalists should be encouraged to: 1) include quotes by mental health experts, 2) include quotes from Veterans, and 3) reinforce the rarity of violence toward others by people with mental illnesses such as PTSD.
Second, the findings point toward a potential need to revise existing recommendations on suicide and mental health. For example, the results revealed monocausal explanations and stigmatizing language typically derived from journalistic sources, such as members of the public or acquaintances of the deceased. Although it is important to respect the voices of others, it is also important to contextualize comments where necessary, for example, by providing additional information on the multifactorial complexity of suicide and PTSD following a simplistic explanation by friends, family, or community members that highlights a single cause.
Third, the results indicate there may be a need to develop tailored media guidelines on reporting on Veteran mental health and suicide, given their specific stressors and life experiences. There is a precedent for such a course of action, as the Mindset guidelines include specific recommendations for reporting on mental illness among Indigenous Peoples as well as in young people.23
Of course, any new guidelines should be developed following comprehensive research examining routine reporting of media coverage of Veteran mental health and suicide, beyond the confines of this single case study of an infrequent and extreme event (murder-suicide). That said, the findings point to areas of future exploration, for example, the importance of considering underlying systemic problems, such as issues in transitional support, and including Veteran voices while avoiding stereotypical framing and simplistic links between mental illness (particularly PTSD) and violence in the wider Veteran community.
There are three key limitations to the present study. Most importantly, this is a case study that is focused on a single event: a prominent, newsworthy, and highly anomalous murder-suicide, meaning results may not be generalizable to routine reporting of Veteran mental health and Veteran suicide. That said, murder-suicides, by definition, include a suicide; thus, reporting still needs to follow guidelines to prevent any Werther effect among other Veterans,6,10,11 especially as such cases draw widespread media coverage.
The second key limitation of the study is that it only included newspaper articles and did not include other media, such as television, radio, or social media. This is an important omission, as social media, in particular, may have contained other themes, but the results offer an initial lay of the land that can be a departure point for future research.
Finally, the study period spanned 12 months in 2017, and did not include later articles, including articles based on the 2021 inquest (ongoing at the time of writing). This limited time span is a weakness in that a longer time period may have led to additional findings. However, the present study demonstrates how reporters cover highly newsworthy events in the immediate period following a notable incident, when emotions are raw and facts may be thin.
To conclude, the present study indicates Canadian newspaper articles about the Lionel Desmond incident typically followed many of the Mindset recommendations and also included educational themes that could raise awareness and catalyze change. Many articles frequently violated other Mindset recommendations, indicating room for improvement as well as the need for more educational outreach to help Canadian journalists responsibly report on Veteran suicides and mental health.
|1.||McGinty EE, Webster DW, Barry, CL. Effects of news media messages about mass shootings on attitudes toward persons with serious mental illness and public support for gun control policies. Am J Psychiatry. 2013 May;170(5):494–501. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13010014. Medline:23511486 Google Scholar|
|2.||Corrigan PW, Powell KJ, Michaels PJ. The effects of news stories on the stigma of mental illness. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Mar;201(3):179–82. https://doi.org/10.1097/nmd.0b013e3182848c24. Medline:23407209 Google Scholar|
|3.||Reavley NJ, Jorm AF, Morgan AJ. Beliefs about dangerousness of people with mental health problems: the role of media reports and personal exposure to threat or harm. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016 Sep;51(9):1257–64. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-016-1215-6. Medline:27048265 Google Scholar|
|4.||Schomerus G, Stolzenburg S, Angermeyer, MC. Impact of the Germanwings plane crash on mental illness stigma: results from two population surveys in Germany before and after the incident. World Psychiatry. 2015 Oct;14(3):362–3. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20257. Medline:26407795 Google Scholar|
|5.||Fink DS, Santaella-Tenorio J, Keyes KM. Increase in suicides the months after the death of Robin Williams in the US. PLoS One. 2018 Feb 7;13(2):e0191405. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191405. Medline:29415016 Google Scholar|
|6.||Whitley R, Fink DS, Santaella-Tenorio J, et al. Suicide mortality in Canada after the death of Robin Williams, in the context of high-fidelity to suicide reporting guidelines in the Canadian media. Can J Psychiat. 2019 Nov;64(11):805–12. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743719854073. Medline:31181955 Google Scholar|
|7.||Pirkis J, Currier D, Too LS, et al. Calls to helplines in Australia following media reports of Robin Williams’ suicide. Suicide Life-Threat Behav. 2020 Jul 24;50(6):1115–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12661. Medline:32706133 Google Scholar|
|8.||Gould MS. Suicide and the media. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Apr;932(1):200–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb05807.x. Medline:11411187 Google Scholar|
|9.||Stack S. Suicide in the media: a quantitative review of studies based on non-fictional stories. Suicide Life-Threat Behav. 2005 Apr;35(2):121–33. https://doi.org/10.1521/suli.18.104.22.168877. Medline:15843330 Google Scholar|
|10.||Sinyor M, Tran US, Garcia D, et al. Suicide mortality in the United States following the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Aust NZ J Psychiat. 2021 Jun;55(6):613–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867420976844. Medline:33300363 Google Scholar|
|11.||Niederkrotenthaler T, Braun M, Pirkis J, et al. Association between suicide reporting in the media and suicide: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2020 Mar 18;368:m575. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m575. Medline:32188637 Google Scholar|
|12.||Parrott S, Albright DL, Eckhart N. Veterans and media: the effects of news exposure on thoughts, attitudes, and support of military veterans. Armed Forces Soc. 2021 Jan 20:0095327X20986145. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327x20986145. Google Scholar|
|13.||Kleykamp M, Hipes C. Coverage of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. media. Sociol Forum. 2015 Jun;30(2):348–68. https://doi.org/10.1111/socf.12166. Google Scholar|
|14.||Parrott S, Albright DL, Dyche C, et al. Hero, charity case, and victim: how U.S. news media frame military veterans on Twitter. Armed Forces Soc. 2019 Oct 1;45(4):702–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327x18784238, Google Scholar|
|15.||Pollock JC, Gratale S, Anas A, et al. Nationwide newspaper coverage of posttraumatic stress: a community structure approach. Atl J Comm. 2014 Aug 26;22(3-4):275–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/15456870.2014.916171. Google Scholar|
|16.||Rhidenour KB, Barrett AK, Blackburn KG. Heroes or health victims? Exploring how the elite media frames veterans on veterans day. Health Commun. 2017 Nov;34(4):371–82. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2017.1405481. Medline:29172714 Google Scholar|
|17.||Purtle J, Katherine L, Mashal M. “Calculating the toll of trauma” in the headlines: portrayals of posttraumatic stress disorder in the New York Times (1980-2015). Am J Orthopsychiat. 2016 May;86(6):632–8. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000187. Medline:27182842 Google Scholar|
|18.||Houston BJ, Spialek ML, Perreault MF. Coverage of posttraumatic stress disorder in the New York Times, 1950–2012. J Health Commun. 2015 Jul;21(2):240–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2015.1058441. Medline:26166398 Google Scholar|
|19.||Frančišković T, Stevanović A, Blažić D, et al. Croatian war veterans in print media in 1996 and in 2006. Psychiatr Danub. 2011 Jun;23(2):171–7. Google Scholar|
|20.||Jeong Y, Kim D, Oh HY, et al. Print media coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder: content analysis of three major Korean newspapers. J Korean Med Sci. 2013 Jul;28(7):1077. https://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2013.28.7.1077. Medline:23853493 Google Scholar|
|21.||Schuman D, Praetorius RT, Barnes DM, et al. Military suicide coverage: AP news wire & suicide guidelines. Death stud. 2016 Jun;40(9):570–7. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2016.1191559. Medline:27261157 Google Scholar|
|22.||Government of Canada. Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada joint suicide prevention strategy. Ottawa (ON): Government of Canada; 2017. Google Scholar|
|23.||The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma. Mindset: reporting on mental health. 3rd ed. London (ON): The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma; 2020. Google Scholar|
|24.||Creed M, Whitley R. Assessing fidelity to suicide reporting guidelines in Canadian news media: the death of Robin Williams. Can J Psychiat. 2017 May;62(5):313–17. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743715621255. Medline:27600531 Google Scholar|
|25.||Whitley R, Wang J. Good news? A longitudinal analysis of newspaper portrayals of mental illness in Canada 2005 to 2015. Can J Psychiat. 2017 Apr 1;62(4):278–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743716675856. Medline:27777273 Google Scholar|
|26.||Landis JR, Koch GG. An application of hierarchical Kappa-type statistics in the assessment of majority agreement among multiple observers. Biometrics. 1977 Jun;33(2):363–74. https://doi.org/10.2307/2529786. Google Scholar|
|27.||Miles MB, Huberman AM. Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1994. Google Scholar|
|28.||Sheppard R. Raymond Sheppard: The role of racism in the Lionel Desmond case. The Nova Scotia Advocate [Internet]. 2019 Oct 19 [cited 2021 Apr 22]. Available from: https://nsadvocate.org/2019/10/01/raymond-sheppard-the-role-of-racism-in-the-lionel-desmond-case/. Google Scholar|
|29.||Fraser L. Lionel Desmond killed their daughter and granddaughter, but in-laws say they won’t ‘demonize’ him. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [Internet]. 2021 Feb 19 [cited 2021 Apr 22]. Available from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/desmond-inquiry-s2-d4-1.5919891. Google Scholar|
Victoria Carmichael is currently employed by the funder, the Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions, but was not employed by the funder during the time of data collection, analysis, and drafting of the manuscript.
Conceptualization: R Whitley
Methodology: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Validation: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Formal Analysis: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Investigation: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Resources: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Data Curation: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Writing – Original Draft: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Writing – Review & Editing: R Whitley
Visualization: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Supervision: R Whitley
Project Administration: R Whitley and V Carmichael
Funding Acquisition: R Whitley
This study was funded by the Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions, which is funded by Veterans Affairs Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Veterans Affairs Canada.
This study was funded by the Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions, which is funded by Veterans Affairs Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Veterans Affairs Canada.
|A1||Toronto Star, “Afghanistan Veteran, three family members found shot dead in N.S. home,” Jan. 4, 2017|
|A2||The Globe and Mail, “Afghanistan Veteran, family found dead in Nova Scotia home in apparent murder-suicide,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A3||Vancouver Province, “Afghan vet with PTSD found dead along with wife, mother, daughter,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A4||Kingston Whig Standard, “Veteran, family found dead; Police say Nova Scotia father killed himself,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A5||London Free Press, “PTSD suspected after Veteran, wife, daughter and mother found dead,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A6||The Ottawa Sun, “Troubled Veteran, Family Found Dead,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A7||The Leader-Post, “PTSD suspected after Afghan Veteran, wife, daughter and mother found dead; authorities investigating apparent murder-suicide in rural Nova Scotia community,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A8||Calgary Sun, “Four dead in N.S. home; Afghan vet with PTSD among gun fatalities in murder-suicide,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A9||The Globe and Mail, “Afghanistan Veteran, family found dead in apparent murder-suicide,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A10||Victoria Times Colonist, “Afghan war vet believed to have killed family, self; Better services needed, ombudsman says,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A11||Hamilton Spectator, “‘I will fix it,’ struggling ex-soldier said before Nova Scotia murder-suicides,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A12||Toronto Star, “Canada must do much more for troubled Veterans: Editorial,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A13||The Globe and Mail, “Canadian Forces won’t commit to probing support of Veteran in apparent murder-suicide,” Jan. 5, 2017|
|A14||Ottawa Sun, “‘Like a kick in the stomach,’ vet says of possible PTSD-homicide link,” Jan. 6, 2017|
|A15||Ottawa Sun, “Feds slow to help Veterans; Troops suffering with long waits to get assistance they need, documents show,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A16||The Globe and Mail, “Women killed by their spouses are not casualties in someone else’s story,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A17||The Hamilton Spectator, “Veterans Affairs standing by level of support it provides former soldiers,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A18||Kingston Whig Standard, “N.S. to probe how health system handled ex-soldier in apparent murder-suicide,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A19||Ottawa Sun, “‘They were working to be a family’,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A20||Toronto Star, “‘They were working to be a family’; Relatives say soldier’s wife seemed to be ‘very happy’ on day before murder-suicide,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A21||The Globe and Mail, “Former soldier killed himself, family, RCMP confirms,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A22||The Hamilton Spectator, “There must be lessons from this tragedy,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A23||Vancouver Province, “Ottawa to pay for funeral of slain family,” Jan. 7, 2017|
|A24||The Hamilton Spectator, “Federal government to pay for funeral of four people slain in Nova Scotia,” Jan. 8, 2017|
|A25||The Globe and Mail, “Ottawa to pay for funerals of vet, family in Nova Scotia, but won’t commit to probe,” Jan. 8, 2017|
|A26||Winnipeg Sun, “Feds to cover funeral,” Jan. 9, 2017|
|A27||Metro Canada, “Dartmouth Costco workers cover cost, shipping of thank-you collage to Desmond family,” Jan. 10, 2017|
|A28||The Hamilton Spectator, “Nova Scotia tragedy: hospital did not turn away anyone, doctor says,” Jan. 10, 2017|
|A29||Brantford Expositor, “Two funerals this week for Nova Scotia family members who died in murder-suicide,” Jan. 10, 2017|
|A30||Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, “Hospital did not turn away Veteran, Doctor says,” Jan. 11, 2017|
|A31||Toronto Star, “Why do we coddle violent, abusive men?” Jan. 11, 2017|
|A32||The Globe and Mail, “Ottawa ignored calls to probe vet suicides,” Jan. 12, 2017|
|A33||National Post, “Last Post,” Jan. 12, 2017|
|A34||The Globe and Mail, “Little consolation at Desmond funeral,” Jan. 12, 2017|
|A35||Waterloo Region Record, “No explanation for deaths, priest tells mourners,” Jan. 12, 2017|
|A36||The Globe and Mail, “Shanna Desmond remembered as determined, kind-hearted at N.S. funeral,” Jan. 12, 2017|
|A37||Victoria Times Colonist, “Funeral held for wife, daughter of ex-soldier; N.S. murder-suicide victims laid to rest,” Jan. 13, 2017|
|A38||Sudbury Star, “Shanna Desmond remembered as hopeful, resolute at second funeral,” Jan. 13, 2017|
|A39||Waterloo Region Record, “Veterans need help with PTSD,” Jan. 13, 2017|
|A40||Brantford Expositor, “Support unit for ill, injured military personnel short dozens of staff,” Jan. 17, 2017|
|A41||Montreal Gazette, “Questions over future role of legions,” Mar. 8, 2017|
|A42||The Globe and Mail, “Veterans advisory group to hold meeting on suicide prevention,” Mar. 19, 2017|
|A43||The Hamilton Spectator, “Vet angry over decision not to hold inquiry into former soldier’s murder-suicide,” June 5 2017|
|A44||Sudbury Star, “No inquiry into former soldier’s murder-suicide,” June 6, 2017|
|A45||National Post, “No inquiry planned into murder suicide; Veteran angry,” June 6, 2017|
|A46||Kingston Whig Standard, “No inquiry into former soldier’s murder-suicide,” June 6, 2017|
|A47||Kingston Whig Standard, “N.S. open to inquiry in soldier’s murder-suicide,” June 9, 2017|
|A48||Waterloo Region Record, “New unit to help departing military members with physical, mental illnesses,” June 9, 2017|
|A49||Brantford Expositor, “Desmond’s sisters call for inquiry,” June 16, 2017|
|A50||The Globe and Mail, “The war that wouldn’t end,” June 17, 2017|
|A51||Regina Leader Post, “Province apologizes to family of soldier in murder-suicide,” June 17, 2017|
|A52||National Post, “The ‘soul inside him became a dark cloud’; Sisters grapple with Veteran’s violent rampage,” June 17, 2017|
|A53||The Globe and Mail, “Calls grow for inquiry into Veteran’s triple murder-suicide,” June 18, 2017|
|A54||Kingston Whig Standard, “N.S. health authority agrees to meet with Lionel Desmond’s family, sister says,” June 20, 2017|
|A55||The Globe and Mail, “N.S. health authority to meet with Desmond’s family,” June 20, 2017|
|A56||The Globe and Mail, “Veterans Affairs Minister won’t comment on possible probe into Veteran’s triple murder-suicide,” June 22, 2017|
|A57||National Post, “Family urges inquiry over war Veteran murder-suicide,” October 21, 2017|
|A58||Victoria Times Colonist, “Afghan vet’s sisters travel to Ottawa, press for inquiry into murder-suicide,” Oct. 21, 2017|
|A59||Metro Canada, “N.S. Chief Medical Examiner calls for inquiry in Lionel Desmond killings,” Dec. 28, 2017|
|A60||Waterloo Region Record, “Inquiry announced into Nova Scotia murders and suicide by former soldier,” Dec. 28, 2017|
|A61||The Globe and Mail, “Nova Scotia launches inquiry into Veteran’s triple murder-suicide,” Dec. 28, 2017|
|A62||Victoria Times Colonist, “Nova Scotia inquiry to probe deaths of former soldier and his family,” Dec. 29, 2017|
|A63||Sudbury Star, “‘This is just the beginning’; Inquiry announced into Lionel Desmond tragedy,” Dec. 29, 2017|
|A64||The Hamilton Spectator, “Inquiry into murders, suicide by former soldier announced,” Dec. 29, 2017|
|A65||Waterloo Region Record, “N.S. inquiry into suicide-murders has ‘national implications,’ advocate says,” Dec. 29, 2017|
|A66||Victoria Times Colonist, “Inquiry into Nova Scotia horror has ‘national implications’: vets’ advocate,” Dec. 30, 2017|