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Social media and suicide have important relationships. The death of Phoebe Prince was said to have resulted from cyberbullying. There is some concern that the desire for achieving prestige via online memorials may encourage suicides.[1] Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has warned that popular social networking sites lead young people to form "transient relationships" which put them at risk of suicide when they collapse.[2]

Suicide notesEdit

It has generally been found that those who post suicide notes online tend to not receive help.[3] Paul Zolezzi[4] indicated via a Facebook update his intent to commit suicide. In 2010, John Patrick Bedell left a Wikipedia user page and YouTube videos interpreted by some as a suicide note; the former was deleted by Wikipedia administrators.[5] Joe Stack also posted a suicide note online.[6]

Webcasted suicidesEdit

Kevin Whitrick and Abraham K. Biggs webcasted their suicides.

Suicide pactsEdit

Gerald Krein[7] and William Francis Melchert-Dinkel were accused of arranging internet suicide pacts.

InterventionsEdit

Demi Moore and her followers intervened to stop a suicide that had been announced on Twitter.[8]

Discussion and support groupsEdit

Some online groups, such as alt.suicide.holiday, have emerged as discussion and support groups for suicidal individuals. Research indicates that providing more online support for suicidal people would be more effective than shutting down pro-suicide websites.[9] The Defense Centers of Excellence have expressed interest in using social media for suicide prevention.[10] Facebook groups have sometimes been set up for suicide prevention purposes,[11] including one that attracted 47,000 members.[12]

SAMHSA's Suicide Prevention Lifeline operates on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Nick Britten and Richard Savill (23 Jan 2008), Police fear internet cult inspires teen suicides, Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1576338/Police-fear-internet-cult-inspires-teen-suicides.html
  2. Holden, Michael (August 2, 2009), Head of English Catholics warns about emails/texting, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5710CR20090802?feedType=RSS&feedName=internetNews
  3. Elana Premack Sandler (April 6, 2009), Can Social Media Help Prevent Suicide?, Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-hope-preventing-suicide/200904/can-social-media-help-prevent-suicide
  4. Gendar, Alison and Connor, Tracy, Facebook status update becomes suicide note for aspiring Brooklyn model, actor Paul Zolezzi, New York Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/02/20/2009-02-20_facebook_status_update_becomes_suicide_n.html
  5. Carlin DeGuerin Miller (March 5, 2010), John Patrick Bedell: Rants on Wikipedia and YouTube May Have Foreshadowed Breakdown, CBS News, archived from the original on July 28, 2012, https://archive.is/77sn
  6. Neil Katz (February 18, 2010), Joe Stack Suicide Note Full Text: "American Zombies Wake Up and Revolt", CBS News, archived from the original on July 22, 2012, https://archive.is/tDaG
  7. Sheriff: Online suicide pact had sexual overtones, CNN, February 13, 2005, http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/12/valentine.suicide/index.html
  8. Chris Matyszczyk (April 3, 2009), CNet, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10212297-71.html?tag=mncol;txt
  9. Online suicide support needed, Science Alert, 03 August 2009, http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20090308-19499.html
  10. Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide, Defense Centers of Excellence, January 22, 2010, http://www.dcoe.health.mil/blog/article.aspx?id=1&postid=63
  11. Elana Premack Sandler (June 16, 2010), Suicide prevention in cyberspace, Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-hope-preventing-suicide/201006/suicide-prevention-in-cyberspace
  12. Minsky, Amy, Anti-suicide Facebook group elicits positive messages, The Vancouver Sun, http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Anti+suicide+Facebook+group+elicits+positive+messages/3151586/story.html
  13. SAMHSA, Suicide Prevention Lifeline Update, http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter/Volume_18_Number_2/SuicidePreventionLifeline.aspx

See alsoEdit

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