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Do you think the media reporting details of suicides, especially by celebrities, causes an increase in suicides among the general public?

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Depends.

Someone feeling suicidal may well act on their anxieties, whether or not there are high profile cases reported on.

But if that reporting is handledly with sensitivity and maybe adds some kind of contact details of organizations that people can contact... well, that might be a positive thing.

If just one life is saved by non-judgemental and useful reportage, it's worth publishing.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

There is nothing to "think" about, this is a well characterized phenomenon with evidence in many scientific studies.

https://www.nationalelfservice.net/mental-health/suicide/media-reporting-of-suicide/

Overall, the results showed that there was an increase in total suicides in the period after the reporting of a celebrity death by suicide. When the suicide method used by the celebrity was reported, there was evidence to show an increase in the number of suicides by the same method in correspondence.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I've read a few academic studies and non-academic articles that indicate that it does. There's an interesting few paragraphs on it in Robert Cialdini's book Influence notes suicides rise in the days after the suicide of a well-known person is publicised. I read something similar in a Japanese article as well, and the author was complaining that the media sensationalises the situation even though there are supposed to be self-regulating rules here about minimising press coverage, and said numbers show thatJHS- and HS-aged girls are heavily affected.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Christopher GlenToday  08:58 am JST

No. The hysteria surrounding Covid is the real reason

The hysteria surrounding COVID-19 is probably a contributing factor, but there are plenty more involved as well, including online bullying, being influenced by celebrities, family breakdown and others.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@virusrex - thanks for sharing, that's hard evidence. In my opinion, I think it's like when you're in a crosswalk with the "do not cross" light is on but there are no vehicles passing on the road and a person crosses, with more people following suit.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mass media are partly to be blamed because they have reached a point of glamorizing suicides of famous people.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yes.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Obviously in a sheepish country.

Especially if article remains neutral, as if suicide was a normal way to go brought by fate. No, it is a choice that should be seen as an action to despise or illness, outside end of life.

It is always a problem of balance between pain and joy found in life.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Suppressing the news of suicides will only result in increasing them.

You are confusing suppressing the news (i.e. note reporting at all) with not mentioning details. Clearly we do not need details. A Japan Today article the other day literally spelling out the implement the individual used to hang themselves. Surely this level of detail is not required.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sometimes. When I was in high school the older brother of a guy in my school committed suicide after Kurt Cobain did.

The thing is, he was already troubled. If it weren’t Cobaine’s death I figure it would have been something else eventually. So the question becomes whether the benefit provided by the reporting of said deaths is of more import than removing the reality that unbalanced people may hurt themselves afterwards.

I don’t have the answer myself. I do think it’s important to be open about the existence of depression and suicide, to try to help those in the depths of it can know they aren’t alone. It’s important to see that fame/fortune isn’t a magical key to happiness. So I do think there is benefit being open about suicide rather than sweeping it under the carpet.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

No. The pressures of conformity and the toxic environment of the Japanese workplace plus the long work hours, the miserable pay and the general lack of optimism is more of a factor than some gennojin suicide

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think it's like when you're in a crosswalk with the "do not cross" light is on but there are no vehicles passing on the road and a person crosses, with more people following suit.

I see this all the time. But I don't cross against the lights when young kids are around, only adults who are old enough to make up their own minds.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, they do. There is evidence to back this up. That is why many countries have media guidelines when reporting suicides.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Running this as a reader poll is an editorial mistake. This is something for social scientists to carefully study, then you can report authoritatively on their findings. Do better.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Reporting a suicide is not a problem and probably doesn't cause a rise in copycat suicides. However, it is the way some of the media report celebratory suicides that causes the problems. Too often there is a media circus around a celebratory suicide. It is over reported and milked for the advertising dollar without even furnishing the audience with the number of the Samaritans or a suicide help line.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is a well known fact that suicide can be contagious!

Look at the scientific evidence, famous cases in towns, where children committed suicide over a dozen, because another kid did that in the school or town.

This are famous people too, Celebrities, Actors, Singers!

Famous people with fans who loved them or look up to them.

If this perfect people in the eyes of many Japanese commit suicide, some would say, maybe I should do it too.

Stop talking about it 24/7, especially during Pandemic. Your influencing people in the wrong way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Reporting isn't the ultimate end. It may end up being detrimental, but hopefully it will progress us towards a future that handles depression openly and effectively so that there may be a time when suicides are low, AND the quality of life is high. Not there yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I definitely see how someone who is having suicidal thoughts or is on the edge could be led to go through with it if someone they idolized did. I still think the media should report it. However, I think the media needs to be responsible with what they report. Anytime a suicide is reported, the media should include a paragraph about the many ways people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts can get help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s a gradual build of issues before something minor makes them snap .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No that's silly

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No. If anything it highlights the issue and brings more awareness to the subject. Maybe even encourages conversation on the subject.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

As negative as the media has become and has become hostile toward the public I think the media is responsible for most negative reactions by the public.

The media has become no more than the propaganda arm of the corpratists and statists.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NO!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

No, that increase of suicides comes from the obvious lack of future outlooks, it’s now added to the already known steady base of high numbers caused by bullying at schools or workplaces.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yes and no. There are a lot of lemmings out there, and I have no doubt that there are those among them who would see it as a kind of green light to do what they've been thinking about doing but were still on the fence; a kind of, "Well, if that person can do it, so can I!"

But for most, I'd say no. They either are or aren't going to do it anyway -- a celeb doing it wouldn't likely switch anyone on it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Suicide is a social problem that needs to be brought into the open and addressed. It should not be sanctioned and swept under the carpet. It’s only 15 or so years ago Japan had 35,000 suicides every year. Their public awareness campaign (and blue lights) worked to reduce the number by 25%. Suppressing the news of suicides will only result in increasing them.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

No. The hysteria surrounding Covid is the real reason

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

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