What is the role of media and the internet in the development of suicidal behaviors?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Media can be a suicidal factor in negative and positive ways. The Internet, and other media, can provide information concerning "how-to" methods. A 2008 study found many Websites providing specific techniques on suicide. [71] That same study also found many antisuicide sites and a surprising number of prosuicide sites.

Books can also have a negative impact on suicide. A patient, after reading the book Final Exit, used one of the methods described to complete a suicide. Furthermore, antipsychiatric Internet sites are available that decry mental health explanations and, for example, show ways to be more effective at being anorexic. The Internet has also been used to broadcast suicides and has been a tool for the development of suicide pacts. [72]

However, a number of Web sites do provide encouragement for treatments, accounts of successful interventions, and key resources. [73] In addition, individuals have used the Internet to take online questionnaires that can indicate depression and suicide potential; some college students were found to have sought treatment as a result of taking these surveys. [74]


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