Media messages can influence suicidal ideations, attempts, and completions and foster suicide contagion. There are examples of this happening when fans were exposed to certain media messages following the occurrences of celebrity suicides. Copycat suicide is a consequence of the suicide contagion phenomenon, along with higher rates of suicide and attempts. This is true even with recent emphasis on media coverage being more focused on conveying messages geared toward educating about prevention and how to seek help when experiencing suicidal ideations. By reviewing the lives and deaths of celebrities and others who have completed suicide, we have been able to generate valuable insights. One insight is that struggles will not always be visible. People can seem happy before their suicide, resulting in the families not understanding their loved one’s actions. Some families will support promoting information on prevention and the availability of mental health services. Not all celebrities struggling will complete suicide. Some seek help even if it requires cancelling tours or events. The form of media does not have to be celebrity coverage. It can be books and TV shows. The themes, events, and main messages talked about can impact the lives of the viewers or readers. There are numerous resources and copious amounts of advice that can help someone about suicide. Outreach contact is essential for engaging suicidal individuals in treatment. Brief motivation enhancement techniques are also effective. Perhaps the media will help educate and motivate those who need help to seek it, if coverage is handled correctly.
Semester/Year of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
Walters, Amanda M., "Examining the Potential Impact of Media on Suicide Contagion" (2017). Honors Theses. 468.