Article

The Kurt Cobain Suicide Crisis: Perspectives from Research, Public Health, and the News Media

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Abstract

The suicide of rock star Kurt Cobain in 1994 raised immediate concerns among suicidologists and the public at large about the potential for his death to spark copycat suicides, especially among vulnerable youth. The Seattle community, where Cobain lived and died, was especially affected by his sudden death. An overview of Cobain's life and death is presented and various crisis center and community-based interventions that occurred are discussed. Preliminary data collected from the Seattle Medical Examiner's Office and from the Seattle Crisis Center to assess the potential impact of Cobain's death on completed suicides and the incidence of suicide crisis calls are presented. The data obtained from the Seattle King County area suggest that the expected “Werther effect” apparently did not occur, but there was a significant increase in suicide crisis calls following his death. It is hypothesized that the lack of an apparent copycat effect in Seattle may be due to various aspects of the media coverage, the method used in Cobain's suicide, and the crisis center and community outreach interventions that occurred. The Cobain suicide and the role of media influence on copycat suicides are further discussed in commentaries from public health and news media perspectives.

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... Conversely, the use of more positive reporting practices encouraging help-seeking can actually reduce suicide (Pirkis et al., 2006). The Papageno effect (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010) and Cobain effect (Jobes, Berman, O'Carroll, Eastgard, & Knickmeyer, 1996) refer to reductions in imitative suicide through positive reporting practices. For example, following the suicide of rock star Kurt Cobain in 1994, community leaders feared an increase in subsequent suicides, particularly among younger persons, but that did not occur. ...
... Rather, phone calls to suicide crisis services increased. Positive reporting practices by the media in the days following Cobain's death, such as encouraging help-seeking and providing information on available resources, seemed to avert a potential Werther effect (Jobes et al., 1996). ...
... Moreover, we found that online news sources repeated military suicide articles significantly more often than civilian articles. News organizations should practice caution regarding how many times they repeat or update an article because undue repetition increases the likelihood of suicide imitation (Jobes et al., 1996;Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010;WHO, 2008). ...
Article
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We evaluated how well Associated Press News Wire stories adhered to the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide™ during 2012, a peak year of military suicide. We included individual suicide stories (N = 167) from randomly selected days. We also evaluated differences in the military versus civilian coverage. Military and civilian stories typically had about five negative practices, and less than one positive practice, with military stories significantly more likely to miss valuable opportunities to promote help-seeking. Our findings, combined with previous evidence, suggest the need for the development of specific military suicide reporting guidelines.
... Cobain's suicide was followed by media attention referring people to the local crisis center and a candlelight vigil where his wife expressed her grief over his death. What was observed after the death was not a rise in the suicide rate as is observed with the Werther Effect but rather an increase in suicide-related phone calls to the local crisis center hotline (Jobes, Berman, O'Carroll, Eastgard, & Knickmeyer, 1996). ...
... After Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, a young man in the Seattle area where Cobain suicided took his life in the exact manner Cobain did. Based on the paraphernalia in his home, the victim was clearly a fan; later it was discovered that he also had a history of depression, isolation, and familial suicide (Jobes, Berman, O'Carroll, Eastgard, & Knickmeyer, 1996). ...
... Cobain's suicide was followed by media attention referring people to the local crisis center and its hotline and a candlelight vigil where his wife expressed her grief over his death. What was observed after the death was not a rise in the suicide rate as is observed with the Werther Effect but rather an increase in suicide phone calls to the local crisis center hotline (Jobes et al., 1996). ...
... It is important to note, however, that there are also instances of celebrity suicide that do not seem to have elicited a Werther effect, for example, as documented for the Seattle area following the suicide of Kurt Cobain (Jobes et al., 1996). The absence of a Werther effect was partially explained by the press' adherence to media guidelines for responsible reporting on suicide (RRS, see Bohanna & Wang, 2012) -for example, no undue prominence of suicide and no details on the method employed. ...
... However, when taking a more nuanced look, we find that the quality of news coverage for the Cobain case seemed to have made a big difference: In France, where a significant subsequent rise in suicide rates was observed, RRS guidelines were not followed (Queinec et al., 2011). Reporting in the Seattle area -albeit that there was extensive front page news coverage -was much more consistent with media guidelines (Jobes et al., 1996). In short, the adherence to the concept of RRS in this case may be one reason why there was no increase in the suicide rate in the Seattle area. ...
... Importantly, the aim of today's guidelines on RRS is not to discourage journalists' reporting of suicides in general nor to suppress the media; instead, the aim is not to give undue prominence to suicide nor report on vivid details about the method employed. The present study thus adds to previous research investigating celebrity suicide cases that were reported on but were not related to a Werther effect-consistent pattern of increasing suicide numbers, such as the death of Kurt Cobain in the Seattle area (Jobes et al., 1996). The latter case is, in our view, roughly comparable to the Rudolf case. ...
Article
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Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Imperial throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, died by suicide in 1889. His death is a prime example of a historical celebrity suicide. Although news coverage about celebrity suicide has been shown to be linked to increases in suicides – a phenomenon known as the Werther effect –, censorship and/or journalists’ anticipatory obedience back then may have led to a form of “forced responsible reporting” that may have prevented a Werther effect. A content analysis was conducted, and civil death registers were used to identify suicides before and after Rudolf’s suicide. We compared Rudolf’s case with another historical celebrity suicide case (Colonel Redl) for which there is already empirical evidence consistent with a Werther effect. As expected, the press heavily reported on Rudolf’s death, but did not give undue prominence to suicide and rarely gave details on the method. Importantly, there was no evidence of an increase in suicides. This is in stark contrast to the Redl case in which the press reported irresponsibly. The Rudolf case emphasizes the importance of current media guidelines on responsible reporting. Thus, a high amount of news coverage does not necessarily translate into a Werther effect.
... Rather, I am attempting to use the power of fame-which has been used for many other purposes, both good and bad-to gain some insight into the nature of suicide and hopefully dissuade other people from heading down the same path. The tragic loss of Kurt Cobain resonated strongly throughout the Western world and there was serious concern about so-called "copy-cat" suicides (Jobes, Berman, O'Carrol, Eastguard, & Knickmeyer, 1996;Martin & Koo, 1997), which unquestionably would not have been Kurt's wish. His suicide note made it very clear that his struggles were personal and unbearable; in no way was he condoning suicide. ...
... Kurt Cobain fatally shot himself in the head on April 5, 1994. His life is summarized by Jobes et al. (1996), from which the below description is drawn. Cobain came from a broken family, with his parents divorcing when he was eight years of age. ...
... Cobain's fame was almost unparalleled in the music industry at the time; he represented a strong counter-culture that many youth attached firmly to, arguably being the leading force in the grunge movement, and he connected to millions of fans through his music. To test whether the Werther effect held true for Cobain's suicide, Jobes et al. (1996) examined suicide and crisis call data in Seattle for a seven-week surveillance period following Cobain's death. While they found no significant increase in the rate of youth suicides following Cobain's death, they did report a significant and marked increase in suicide crisis calls. ...
Article
History can complement the scientific disciplines in teaching us about the nature of suicide. The death of Socrates, especially as described by Xenophon, suggests fear of the frailties of old age as a motive for suicide. A Platonic view implies heroism and martyrdom. Cleopatra's death and Kurt Cobain's signify the importance of losing when the stakes are high, to the extent that the potential loss is simply too great to live with. Hemingway's death provides strong evidence for a genetic role at play, coupled with various risk factors, most notably mental illness (probably bipolar mood disorder) and setting unrealistic goals.
... Another 23 studies came from different European countries: 10 from the United Kingdom [98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106][107], 7 from Austria [6,26,[108][109][110][111][112], 4 from Germany [25,[113][114][115], and 2 from France [116,117]. Finally, five studies were conducted in Australia [118][119][120][121][122]. [25,38,42,44,47,48,50,52,53,58,61,67,94,98,99,[103][104][105][106][107]116]; and 12 analyzed the influence of mixed media [40,64,66,73,80,82,114,115,117,[120][121][122]. ...
... In total, 20 studies investigated the impact of fictional stories on suicides [25,38,42,44,47,48,50,52,53,58,61,67,98,99,[103][104][105][106][107]116]; and 78 examined the effect of non-fictional suicides, including those committed by celebrities [2,6,[26][27][28][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][39][40][41]43,45,46,49,51,[54][55][56][57]59,60,[62][63][64][65][66][100][101][102][108][109][110][111][112][113][114][115][117][118][119][120][121][122]. ...
... In total, 69 reported the negative impact of the media on the actual suicide rates [2,25,26,[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39]43,44,[46][47][48][49]51,56,57,[59][60][61][62][63]67,68,96,97,[100][101][102][103][104]107,111,[113][114][115][116]118,119,121,122], and 16 found no imitative effect [31,[40][41][42]45,50,[53][54][55]58,64,69,95,105,106,120] while only 4 reported the protective effect, which followed either the cessation of stories during newspaper strikes or the implementation of media guidelines for suicide reporting [108][109][110]112]. Additionally, nine studies found mixed or conflicting results [6,27,28,65,66,94,98,99,117]. ...
Article
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This paper examines the association between media reporting on suicides and the subsequent suicides. Scientific papers from two online bibliographic sources Medline (PubMed) and PsycINFO were searched. The sample included 108 research papers examining the impact of different types of media stories on suicides. The review revealed that although the media can be a double-edged sword and serve both as a risk and a protective factor, the vast majority of research suggests that the relationship between the media reporting and the actual suicide rates is causal and real. Moreover, both the quantity and the quality of media reporting may trigger additional suicides in society. Simultaneously, research suggests that especially non-fictional presentations of celebrities’ suicides in newspapers and on television news have the biggest influence on the subsequent suicides. Additionally, a strong modelling effect of media reporting on suicide is based on nationality, age, and gender. However, research shows that because a negative reporting style can be modifiable and improved, the media can also have an educative or preventive effect and can reduce the risk of contagion. Consequently, it is important to monitor the implementation of media recommendations for the reporting of suicide, and continuous education of reporters is needed.
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. ...
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. This wasn't a gentle passing; it was a violent act that shocked music fans and the general public. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The fascination of suicide; fads and fashions in psychiatry; the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM) and its influence on society; the dominion and dominance of the Biomedical model of suicide and mental illness; an introduction Critical suicide studies/critical suicidology and its agendas.
... Oversights in media reporting regarding the death of Robin Williams stands in contrast to another high profile US entertainment star suicide, Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the enormously popular rock band Nirvana, in 1994. There was minimal impact of Cobain's death on suicide rates in the Seattle area of the United States, and available evidence indicates that restrictive reporting of the details of death, as well as consistent messages regarding suicide prevention throughout reporting, may have played a pivotal role in preventing subsequent suicides [29,30]. It should be noted that this study only counted suicides before and after Cobain's death in the Seattle area (29), and it is possible that the suicide trends in Seattle differed from the national trends. ...
... There was minimal impact of Cobain's death on suicide rates in the Seattle area of the United States, and available evidence indicates that restrictive reporting of the details of death, as well as consistent messages regarding suicide prevention throughout reporting, may have played a pivotal role in preventing subsequent suicides [29,30]. It should be noted that this study only counted suicides before and after Cobain's death in the Seattle area (29), and it is possible that the suicide trends in Seattle differed from the national trends. ...
Article
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Investigating suicides following the death of Robin Williams, a beloved actor and comedian, on August 11th, 2014, we used time-series analysis to estimate the expected number of suicides during the months following Williams’ death. Monthly suicide count data in the US (1999–2015) were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER). Expected suicides were calculated using a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving averages model to account for both the seasonal patterns and autoregression. Time-series models indicated that we would expect 16,849 suicides from August to December 2014; however, we observed 18,690 suicides in that period, suggesting an excess of 1,841 cases (9.85% increase). Although excess suicides were observed across gender and age groups, males and persons aged 30–44 had the greatest increase in excess suicide events. This study documents associations between Robin Williams’ death and suicide deaths in the population thereafter.
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. ...
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. This wasn't a gentle passing; it was a violent act that shocked music fans and the general public. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Suicide needs to be understood rather than deplored and shunned. Case studies of differing suicide patterns across geographies, histories, religions and cultures, particularly among Australia’s Aboriginal people and North American Indians and Inuit; suicide during the Armenian and Jewish Genocide in the twentieth century.
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. ...
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. This wasn't a gentle passing; it was a violent act that shocked music fans and the general public. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The office of coroners and medical examiners; standards of proof required for suicide verdicts; some bizarre rulings on suicide; who is appointed to coronial positions; the matter of under-reporting of suicide; Australian research findings on suicide determinations.
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. ...
... Following the suicide of internationally popular musician Kurt Cobain (of famed rock band Nirvana) in 1994, a decrease in suicide deaths in his Seattle region was reported; this was attributed, in part, to how he killed himself (Jobes et al. 1996). Cobain used a shotgun, a 'method of choice, which would seem especially violent, even to a person at risk' wrote Jobes et al. (1996) in their study on the impact of this high-profile death. This wasn't a gentle passing; it was a violent act that shocked music fans and the general public. ...
Book
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This unique book explores suicide as more than just a manner of death. It challenges the myths, beliefs, dogma, and customs of suicide from the earliest theories. It offers fresh insights into dark spaces. World-wide, suicide deaths are three times greater than homicides, and are increasing. Current approaches to stem this ‘epidemic’ are not working, or have very limited success. Mental health interventions, theories about a suicide or a depression gene, and the ever-increasing dispensing of antidepressants have not lessened the stark statistics. The authors attempt to understand the soul of the suicide — addressing the social, economic, political, historical, geographic, and cultural contexts in which suicide occurs. The social order is indelibly connected to settings, places, circumstances, relationships, occupations, climate, and milieus. Most of the 36 diverse categories of self-motivated deaths defy a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Recognising contexts and looking outside the confines that have imprisoned thinking about suicide, could well be more effective in alleviating or mitigating suicide than years searching for a possible vaccination against such death. The book is an appeal to move beyond the medical model of suicide. Written in a very accessible style, it is of interest to social scientists, philosophers, professionals and researchers in public health, medical and behavioural sciences, and lay persons alike. A critical, stimulating and moral tale of suicide that provides a new look -–Michael J. Kral, PhD, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Michigan, USA … a major breakthrough and a step in the right direction in addressing the problem of suicide -–Said Shahtahmasebi, PhD, Research Director, the Good Life Research Centre Trust, Christchurch, New Zealand … informed understanding of suicide’s multiplicity and historical instability – Jennifer White, PhD, School of Youth and Child Care, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
... • Il s'attache à délimiter les composantes objectives de la réalisation en s'appuyant sur différents corpus de littérature. (Notredame, 2015(Notredame, , 2016(Notredame, , 2017(Notredame, , 2018 La couverture médiatique du suicide du chanteur Kurt Cobain peut être conçue comme « réussie » (Jobes, 1996 ;Martin, 1997), en cela qu'elle qu'elle n'a pas entraîné de surmortalité au décours ; cela a été rendu possible grâce à l'intervention de la Seattle Crisis Clinic auprès des journalistes, pour un traitement responsable de l'information (Jobes, 1996 En résumé : ...
... • Il s'attache à délimiter les composantes objectives de la réalisation en s'appuyant sur différents corpus de littérature. (Notredame, 2015(Notredame, , 2016(Notredame, , 2017(Notredame, , 2018 La couverture médiatique du suicide du chanteur Kurt Cobain peut être conçue comme « réussie » (Jobes, 1996 ;Martin, 1997), en cela qu'elle qu'elle n'a pas entraîné de surmortalité au décours ; cela a été rendu possible grâce à l'intervention de la Seattle Crisis Clinic auprès des journalistes, pour un traitement responsable de l'information (Jobes, 1996 En résumé : ...
Thesis
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Introduction. The cinematic coverage of a suicide could have an impact on the suicide rate. When it leads to the imitation of the suicidal gesture, this mechanism is named "Werther effect". Its corollary, responsible for the potential prevention of the suicidal phenomenon, is entitled "Papageno effect ». Objectives. To build a grid of analysis for feature film of national or international diffusion with at least one scene of suicide, to quantify the risk of this effects. Material and Methods: Our sample was constitute of 100 movies, randomized from a database of 1194 films with a suicide scene. The verification between two examiners, with the Cohen coefficient, was carried out with two successive series of movies; fidelity is based on internal consistency of the construct. The convergent validity was tested thanks to the scale MoVIES and the spectator identification, the emotional valence and arousal, by the multiple regression, obtained on 9 participants who viewed 7 films each. Results. 49 randomly selected films were separated into two successive series of 19 and 30 movies. The reliability measures were measured at 0.70. The linear regression is allowed to directly see the effect of identification (0,0317, p < 0.05), independantly of the empathy (0,1887, p < 0.05). Conclusion. It turns out that the evaluation is a valid, reliable and useful tool for measuring the potential contagious effect of a suicidal act of a character, as part of the cinematographic presentation of a suicide scene.
... For an example, after a famous American rock star, Kurt Cobain's death by suicide, many experts worried that "copycat" suicide might occur in the aftermath. [30][31][32] The City of Seattle and several local radio stations collaborated to organize the vigil and invited a crisis clinic director to speak to the public concern and to educate thousands of mourners with the tape of Kurt Cobain's widow presenting his suicide in a negative fashion. The press and visual media reported Cobain's sui-cide and life with responsible concern, distinguishing Cobain the musician from Cobain the depressed drug abuser and suicide. ...
... Indeed, the record revealed no marked spike in suicides associated with the celebrity suicide. 30 Traditional approaches to suicide prevention include the use of mailings, brochures, billboards, radio, television, and telephones. 33 Over recent years, the amount of data transmitted via internet, smart devices, and social network services has exponentially increased. ...
Article
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Objective: Suicide is a significant public health concern worldwide. Social media data have a potential role in identifying high suicide risk individuals and also in predicting suicide rate at the population level. In this study, we report an advanced daily suicide prediction model using social media data combined with economic/meteorological variables along with observed suicide data lagged by 1 week. Methods: The social media data were drawn from weblog posts. We examined a total of 10,035 social media keywords for suicide prediction. We made predictions of national suicide numbers 7 days in advance daily for 2 years, based on a daily moving 5-year prediction modeling period. Results: Our model predicted the likely range of daily national suicide numbers with 82.9% accuracy. Among the social media variables, words denoting economic issues and mood status showed high predictive strength. Observed number of suicides one week previously, recent celebrity suicide, and day of week followed by stock index, consumer price index, and sunlight duration 7 days before the target date were notable predictors along with the social media variables. Conclusion: These results strengthen the case for social media data to supplement classical social/economic/climatic data in forecasting national suicide events.
... o houve aumento significativo nas taxas de suicídio por arma de fogo entre jovens de 15 a 24 anos após um mês do anúncio da morte de Kurt em 1994. Como conclusão, o suicídio do cantor teve pouco impacto sobre os jovens no país, sendo que o modo como a mídia divulgou o suicídio pode ter sido responsável pela ausência de um possível efeito imitativo.Jobes, et al. (1996) monitoraram os casos de suicídios que ocorreram sete semanas após a morte de Kurt Cobain em 1994, em Seattle, Estados Unidos. As taxas de suicídio entre 1993 e 1995 foram comparadas às ocorridas em 1994. Durante esse período foram notificados 24 suicídios, sendo apenas um diretamente vinculado à morte do cantor. Segundo os pesquisadores ...
... Esta pesquisa sustenta a ideia de contágio a partir de casos em que a pessoa se Maria Júlia Kovács matou deixando cartas e bilhetes que faziam referência a Kurt Cobain logo após seu suicídio. Ressalta-se que, embora se trate de países com diferenças históricas, culturais e sociais, o tratamento sensibilizado que a mídia dispensou em relação à morte de Kurt Cobain pode ter sido um dos muitos fatores importantes para o não aumento das taxas de suicídios na Austrália e nos Estados Unidos como evidenciam os estudos de Martin e Koo (1997) e deJobes et al. (1996), evitando, assim, um possível efeito do contágio a partir do suicídio de Cobain.Por tratamento sensibilizado entende-se uma postura de cuidado dos jornalistas e respeito à ética da profissão. Trata-se do comportamento dos agentes da imprensa, materializado por meio da transmissão de comunicações (escritas ou orais), que tem por objetivos prioritários (i) situar o suicídio como uma questão que pertence ao campo da saúde pública; e (ii) prover orientações básicas (como telefones de assistência), tanto para pessoas que estejam passando por problemas semelhantes aos da pessoa conhecida que recentemente tirou a própria vida como para aqueles que estejam cogitando se matar. ...
Article
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Este artigo tem como objetivo (i) explorar, em termos gerais, a temática do suicídio por contágio e o papel dos meios de comunicação em massa nesse fenômeno; (ii) investigar, em termos mais específicos, a possibilidade de suicídios por contágio em conexão com (a) suicídios de celebridades e (b) suicídios em espaços públicos em que são registrados altos índices de morte voluntária; e (iii) propor reflexões sobre a prevenção do suicídio no que diz respeito à atuação das mídias de comunicação em massa. Para tanto, utilizamos o método da revisão bibliográfica e uma pesquisa de campo. Observa-se que a simples exposição do tema do suicídio na mídia não causa diretamente suicídios subsequentes, embora possa ser um fator de influência, dependendo da abordagem. O suicídio por contágio está associado ao processo de identificação e imitação, à influência sócio-histórica-cultural dos locais, dos métodos e do próprio ato suicida influenciador, sendo imprescindível refletir sobre os meandros da relação pessoa-ambiente para a elaboração de medidas preventivas.
... Stories that are shared on social media have a greater effect (Ueda, Mori, Matsubayashi, & Sawada, 2017). Very negative reporting, such as the reporting of the suicide of Kurt Cobain (through the lens of an emotionally charged speech by his wife, Courtney Love; see Jobes, Berman, O'Carroll, Eastgard, & Knickmeyer, 1996;Martin & Koo, 1997) or the horrifying spectacle of the Jonestown mass suicides (Stack, 1983), seems to inhibit copycat effects. By the same token, reporting that glamorizes or romanticizes suicide, or which shows it as a normal reaction to a stressful situation, increases the likelihood of imitation. ...
Article
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The author presents two examples of suicide by disabled people, one unassisted and one assisted. There are points of dissimilarity but also points of similarity. The language of “assisted dying” is misleading especially when the person is not terminally ill. In contrast, the language of “assisted suicide” is appropriate and is used in Switzerland and the Benelux countries. Guidance is needed for media reporting of assisted suicides. In addition to avoidance of certain details and ways of framing stories, the media should also seek to tell more positive stories about life with disability, counteracting the Werther effect with the Papageno effect. This article concerns suicide prevention in relation to the practice and the reporting of assisted dying. Its focus is the situation of people who are suicidal and who have a physical disability or a mental health condition. The aim of the article is not to consider the current or possible future shape of the law in different jurisdictions in relation to determining, assisting and encouraging, or preventing suicide. It aims, rather, to call attention to danger of suicide, whether assisted or unassisted, among people who would be eligible for euthanasia in the Low Countries or for medical assistance in suicide in Switzerland. Irrespective of the shape of the law, the fundamental challenge remains, to live well together despite the vicissitudes of life.
... While inappropriate reporting can pose harm to the concerned community, responsible media reporting has the potential to reduce the risk of suicide (Phillips, 1985;Hassan, 1995;Samaritans, n.d.). For example, the less sensationalized reporting of the suicide of U.S musician Kurt Cobain, emphasizing its impact on mental health as well as the availability of support services for those similarly afflicted sent positive messages to concerned communities (Jobes et al., 1996). Simple messages on the preventability of suicide and availability of help services in media campaigns led to increased calls to helplines (Oliver et al., 2008;Jenner et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Background: Suicide remains an important cause of premature deaths and draws much media attention. However, unsafe reporting and portrayal of suicides by the media have been associated with increased risk of suicidal behavior. Current evidence suggests that media capacity-building could potentially prevent suicide. However, there are still knowledge gaps in terms of a lack of data on effective strategies for improving awareness and safe reporting of suicide-related media content. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a workshop conducted with members of the media community on the safe reporting of suicide-related content. Methods: An interventional single-arm pre and post pilot study was conducted on a sample of the Malaysian media community recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. The media safe reporting workshop was conducted by a suicide prevention expert with a media industry background. Thirty participants completed a self-reported evaluation questionnaire on their awareness and knowledge of reporting on suicide-related media content; before and after the interventional workshop. Results: There was a significant difference between the total scores before and after the intervention, with a large effect size. Post-intervention scores were significantly improved in 8 items, namely those related to the reporting of: (i) the content of any suicide note; (ii) headlines with methods of suicide; (iii) headlines with the location of suicide; (iv) cases of suspected suicide despite the unconfirmed cause of death; (v) suicide news to cater to readers’ interests; (vi) cause of suicide; (vii) details of the location of suicide; and (viii) the negative impact to media community when reporting suicide stories. In particular, there was an improvement in the majority of items for people from the media community with no lived experience of suicidal behavior. Conclusion: The media safe reporting workshop is a potentially effective intervention for improving awareness and knowledge measures relating to safe reporting on suicide among the media community, with a more pronounced effect in those without lived experience of suicidal behavior. Limitations in the sample size, generalizability, short-term evaluation, and lack of a control group warrant future larger, longer-term controlled, and more representative studies.
... Discussing "Her hair is very Madonna at the Golden Globes", Bylinina (2011: 14) remarks that it is not obvious whether the speaker means that the subject's hair is curly or voluminous or even both. Similarly, in a comparison-reading of "I feel very Kurt Cobain", it is not clear whether the notion of "depressed" or "suicidal" is in question; Cobain is well-known for both properties (see Cross, 2014;Jobes et al., 1996). Secondly, the gradable property reading fails a substitution test in which the grounds of the comparison are provided: ...
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There are broad disagreements between existing models regarding the mental representations and processes involved in the "DEGREE ADVERB + PROPER NAME" construction, including disagreements regarding the semantics of the degree device, the category status of the proper name, the construction's expressed meaning and its (non-)compositionality, and, crucially, the operation that holds between the degree device and the proper name. Our corpus-based investigation into two competing models from Construction Grammar and Formal Semantics shows that these models collectively make useful contributions to the scientific understanding of this construction, but neither is empirically adequate. Most importantly, we find that the construction participates in several non-predicted expressed meanings; multivariate analyses show that the three amenable to statistical analysis cluster with different semantic usage-features. We argue that the best way to account for the construction's semantics-pragmatics is via a previously-dismissed cognitive mechanism: an enrichment-/strengthening-type operation whereby a pragmatically-supplied scale is added to the message.
... Contagion-as-imitation (Cheng et al., 2014) suicide attempts have become known as the Werther effect (Phillips, 1985). The Werther effect is when the suicide rate increases following a highly publicized suicide attempt (Phillips, 1974) and has been demonstrated in some, but not all studies of celebrity suicides (Gould et al., 2003;Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2000;Sudak and Sudak, 2005). Of note, young people appear to be the most at-risk of contagion effects of suicide behaviours compared to other age groups. ...
Article
Purpose: To examine whether there is an association between students self-reported suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-injury and exposure to suicidal behaviour among friends, family members or within school communities. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative health and well-being survey of 8500 New Zealand high school students conducted from March through November 2012. Students' self-reported suicide attempts and repeated non-suicidal self-injury was examined in relation to student reports of self-harming behaviour among friends and family as well as data from school administrators of completed suicides within the school community. Results: Almost 1 in 20 (4.5%) students reported a suicide attempt in the last 12 months and 7.9% reported repeated non-suicidal self-injury in the last 12 months. The risk of both suicide attempts and repeated non-suicidal self-injury was highest among females, students from homes with economic deprivation and among students reporting an episode of low mood in the previous 12 months. Students exposed to suicide attempts or completed suicide among friends and/or family members were at increased risk of reporting attempted suicide and repeated non-suicidal self-injury in the last year. There was no association between completed suicide in school community and students self-reported suicide attempts or repeated non-suicidal self-injury. Conclusions: Low mood and exposure to suicide attempts of friends and family members are associated with suicide attempts and repeated non-suicidal self-injury in New Zealand high school students. This research highlights importance of supporting adolescents with low mood and exposed to suicide of friends and family.
... During the 1980s, after major Sydney and Melbourne newspapers reported on various suicides, there appeared to be corresponding increases in male suicide (Hassan, 1995). Further, there appears to be evidence of 'copycat' behaviours following high profi le suicide reports ( Pirkis et al., 2006), especially in cases of celebrity suicide where the deceased is perceived to be an idol or role model ( Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2003). However, when in compliance with guidelines, suicide-related media reports that focus on resilience and healthy strategies to cope with hardship and suicidal ideation can help to decrease vulnerability to suicide (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). ...
... During the 1980s, after major Sydney and Melbourne newspapers reported on various suicides, there appeared to be corresponding increases in male suicide (Hassan, 1995). Further, there appears to be evidence of 'copycat' behaviours following high profi le suicide reports ( Pirkis et al., 2006), especially in cases of celebrity suicide where the deceased is perceived to be an idol or role model ( Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2003). However, when in compliance with guidelines, suicide-related media reports that focus on resilience and healthy strategies to cope with hardship and suicidal ideation can help to decrease vulnerability to suicide (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). ...
... During the 1980s, after major Sydney and Melbourne newspapers reported on various suicides, there appeared to be corresponding increases in male suicide (Hassan, 1995). Further, there appears to be evidence of 'copycat' behaviours following high profi le suicide reports ( Pirkis et al., 2006), especially in cases of celebrity suicide where the deceased is perceived to be an idol or role model ( Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2003). However, when in compliance with guidelines, suicide-related media reports that focus on resilience and healthy strategies to cope with hardship and suicidal ideation can help to decrease vulnerability to suicide (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). ...
... As this example illustrates, mental illness continues to be a subject matter that is exploited and is narrated in the global and local media in ghoulish ways (Greenslade 2014) that are intended to thrill readers and viewers with a sense of horrified terror or, at least, a voyeuristic way of experiencing Royle's Gothic frisson of the uncanny (2003). This is despite it being widely acknowledged that the consequences of such unrealistic and sensationalized reporting and representation range from at best, unproductive stereotyping to, at worst, a range of negative outcomes (Cheng, Hawton, Lee and Chen 2007;Jobes et al. 1996). As a poignant and recent example, the day after Robin Williams' death from suicide, which was reported in media all over the world -and some of which blatantly disregarded the suicide reporting guidelines (Greenslade 2014) -an American suicide hotline received 7,375 calls, the highest number the organization had ever received (Taylor 2014). ...
Article
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The linking of mental illness and the Gothic is prevalent and persistent. In spite of sustained campaigns from mental health advocates to promote a realistic portrayal of mental health care and the services available, the public continue to be bombarded with perverse representations of its dark side. In this context, we explore three texts in which mental health is represented in order to foreground their Gothic tropes – dark elements of the psychiatric experience, isolation, eerie landscapes, senses of foreboding, claustrophobia and entrapment, and the mad woman – proposing that this can assist awareness of how fear and stigma is established and maintained.
... La noticia del suicidio de un personaje conocido es más influyente que aquella de personas no reconocidas socialmente (Stack, 1990). Así, ante la muerte del compositor y cantante Kurt Cobain en 1994 se esperaba en Norteamérica una oleada de suicidios que no ocurrió, tan sólo se incrementaron las llamadas por este motivo a los servicios telefónicos de atención en crisis (Jobes, Berman, 1996). En el otro extremo, nueve años después, el también cantante y actor chino Leslie Cheung se dio muerte arrojándose de un edificio, método que en el corto plazo varios jóvenes imitaron al consumar su suicidio, amén de que referían en sus notas póstumas el fallecimiento de este ícono popular (Yip, 2006). ...
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RESUMEN En la primera parte se realizó una revisión bibliográfica respecto a si es posible que exista algo como una " ola de suicidios " , y sus eventuales características. En un segundo momento se reporta el análisis estadístico de los casos de suicidio de los últimos doce años tanto en Guanajuato como en la república mexicana. Se concluye que el reciente incremento de las cifras de suicidio es la expresión más espectacular de un fenómeno que previamente se había anunciado. ABSTRACT In the first part a bibliographical review was made about a feasible " suicides wave " and its possible characteristics. In the second part the statistic analysis of suicide cases in the last twelve years in Guanajuato as in Mexico is reported. It concludes that the recent increase in suicide rates is only the most spectacular expression of an oldest phenomenon.
... During the 1980s, after major Sydney and Melbourne newspapers reported on various suicides, there appeared to be corresponding increases in male suicide (Hassan, 1995). Further, there appears to be evidence of 'copycat' behaviours following high profi le suicide reports ( Pirkis et al., 2006), especially in cases of celebrity suicide where the deceased is perceived to be an idol or role model ( Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2003). However, when in compliance with guidelines, suicide-related media reports that focus on resilience and healthy strategies to cope with hardship and suicidal ideation can help to decrease vulnerability to suicide (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). ...
... During the 1980s, after major Sydney and Melbourne newspapers reported on various suicides, there appeared to be corresponding increases in male suicide (Hassan, 1995). Further, there appears to be evidence of 'copycat' behaviours following high profi le suicide reports ( Pirkis et al., 2006), especially in cases of celebrity suicide where the deceased is perceived to be an idol or role model ( Jobes et al., 1996;Stack, 2003). However, when in compliance with guidelines, suicide-related media reports that focus on resilience and healthy strategies to cope with hardship and suicidal ideation can help to decrease vulnerability to suicide (Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). ...
... Baume, Cantor, and Rolfe (1997) studied more than 300 sites that chronicled Cobain's life, death, and music; in many instances they found that the star's suicide note and death certificate had been posted. The availability of this material, coupled with the massive media coverage, is believed to lead to what Jobes, Berman, O'Carroll, Eastgard, and Knickmeyer (1996) refer to as the "Werther Effect." This is where the death of a celebrity has the potential to stimulate vulnerable youth to imitate. ...
... We estimate that an increase of approximately one suicide per 100,000 inhabitants is linked to about five additional suicides of celebrities with an average impact. For high-impact celebrities (such as Kurt Cobain, with 500 page links on average), the association is about two additional suicides per 100,000 inhabitants (on Cobain's imitative effect in particular, see Jobes et al., 1996). ...
Article
Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population's suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3855 Wikipedia pages of the 495 celebrities who died from suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure the status of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in an ecological study based on a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country's overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that the country-specific status of celebrity suicides is associated with significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths are not associated with the overall suicide rates. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
... Reporting on the pandemic cannot be perceived only for its informative function. It is unknown what effect a constant reporting on the cases, casualties and containment methods could have on adherence to distancing rules or mental health 19,[35][36][37][38] . We employed sentiment analysis to study the large volume of identified COVID-19 articles by analyzing emotions they could evoke. ...
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Background Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdowns, mask wearing and social distancing have been the primary measures to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are highly effective when there is strong population wide adherence which needs to be facilitated by information on the current risks posed by the pandemic alongside a clear exposition of the rules and guidelines in place. Here we address the issue of communication on the pandemic by offering data and analysis of online news media coverage of COVID-19. Methods We collected 26 million news articles from the front pages of 172 major online news sources in 11 countries (available at http://sciride.org ). Using topic detection we identified COVID-19-related content to quantify the proportion of total coverage pandemic received in 2020. Sentiment analysis tool Vader was employed to stratify the emotional polarity of COVID-19 reporting. Further topic detection and sentiment analysis was performed on COVID-19 articles to reveal the leading themes in pandemic reporting and their respective emotional polarizations. Findings We find that COVID-19 coverage accounted for approximately 25% of all front-page online news articles between January and October 2020. Sentiment analysis of English-speaking sources reveals that the overall COVID-19 coverage cannot be simply classified as negative due to the disease subject matter, suggesting a wide heterogeneous reporting of the pandemic. Within this heterogenous coverage, 16% of COVID-19 news articles (or 4% of all English-speaking articles) can be classified as highly negatively polarized, citing issues such as death, fear or crisis . Interpretation The goal of pandemic public health communication is to increase understanding of distancing rules and maximize the impact of any governmental policy. Our results suggest an information overload in COVID-19 reporting that could risk obscuring effective policy communication. We hope that our data and analysis will inform health communication strategy to minimize the risks of COVID-19 while vaccination regimes are being introduced.
... 1998; OMS, 2008;Niederkrotenthaler et al., 2010). Há uma vasta literatura sobre a cobertura de suicídios nos media, qual o impacto no comportamento suicidário das populações de vários países, com base na análise de estudos de caso, nomeadamente, suicídios de figuras públicas, como, por exemplo, da atriz norteamericana Marylin Monroe (Stack, 2003), do vocalista dos Nirvana Kurt Cobain (Jobes et al., 1996), do guarda-redes alemão Robert Enke (Ladwig et al., 2012;Hegerl et al., 2013), do ator norte-americano Robin Williams (Fink et al., 2018), do famoso repórter no Québec Gaëtan Girouard (Tousignant et al., 2005) e do cantor e ator pop de Hong Kong Leslie Cheung (Yip et al., 2006). ...
Article
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that media professionals have great responsibility when reporting suicides and dozens of international studies have pointed to consequences on the population's suicidal behavior following news coverage of suicide. For the first time in the year 2000, WHO issued a set of guidelines for media coverage of suicide and has been updating those guidelines. However, the subject of suicide and international guidelines for responsible coverage of the subject seem not to be included in journalist training programs. The aim of the present exploratory study was to investigate the perceptions of journalism students in Portugal, who attend the educational institutions of Lisbon, in relation to the news about suicide, to verify if they know the rules for responsible coverage and to verify if there are differences between the students of the 1st and 3rd years, these last finalists and about to enter in the job market. In total, 248 questionnaires were validated, 157 from the 1st year and 91 from the 3rd year. Most of the probed journalism students were unaware of the best practices for preparing responsible suicide news, as well as showing little sensitivity to the issues raised by the subject. In this sense, it would be important to make educational institutions aware of the need to approach the subject and teach the guidelines to be followed by future journalists and media professionals. Introdução Há décadas que se debate a questão sobre se os relatos de suicídios nos media podem conduzir a suicídios por imitação (Phillips, 1974; Bollen e Phillips, 1982; Stack, 2000; Gould, 2001; Pirkis e Blood, 2010). Existem evidências de que notícias de suicídios podem influenciar atos suicidas por imitação em certas circunstâncias, mas também é reconhecido que os media podem ajudar na prevenção do suicídio (Etzersdorfer e Sonneck,
... Am besten bestätigt ist der Effekt für die Pressebericht erstattung (Gould, 2001;Pirkis et al., 2018), empirische Hinweise finden sich aber auch für das Fernsehen und das Internet. (Jobes et al. 1996). In Australien stellten Martin und Koo (1997) Schmidtke und Häfner (1986). ...
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Niedrigschwellige Suizidprävention umfasst professionelle, semi- professionelle sowie laiengestützte Angebote und dient dem barrierefreien Zugang für hilfesuchende Personen mit unterschiedlichen Ausprägungen von Suizidalität mit dem Ziel der Reduktion von Suizidalität und der psycho- sozialen Unterstützung. Angebote der niedrigschwelligen Suizidprävention sollten für Betroffene leicht zugänglich, vertraulich, bestenfalls kostenfrei und ohne Wartezeit verfügbar sein. Ziel dieses Berichts ist es, die Probleme und Herausforderungen der niedrigschwelligen Suizidprävention vorzustellen, zu diskutieren und Möglichkeiten sowie Ansätze für den Umgang mit diesen Problemen aufzuzeigen. Ferner sollen ein Überblick über bereits bestehende Akteurinnen und Akteure der niedrigschwelligen Suizidprävention sowie Impulse für weitere Angebote gegeben werden. Zur Erfassung des Status quo der niedrigschwelligen Suizidprävention wurden eine quantitative und zwei qualitative Befragungen durchgeführt und ausgewertet. Die Ergebnisse der Befragungen zeigten, dass als häufigs- tes Problem die fehlende oder zeitlich begrenzte Finanzierung von Projekten zur Suizidprävention genannt wurde. Darüber hinaus wurden die schwierige Erreichbarkeit bestimmter Personengruppen, Stigmatisierung und Tabuisie- rung von Suizidalität sowie die fehlende Vernetzung von Angeboten und Projekten thematisiert. Es wird deutlich, dass konkrete Maßnahmen zu einer Verbesserung der niedrigschwelligen Suizidprävention führen würden. Zentral sind hierbei vor allem eine Vernetzung der Akteurinnen und Akteure sowie eine zentrale Informationsstelle, Öffent- lichkeitsarbeit sowie ein besonderer Fokus auf Risikogruppen (z. B. Männer). Weitere Vorschläge und Maßnahmen werden im Bericht vorgestellt und diskutiert.
... Am besten bestätigt ist der Effekt für die Pressebericht erstattung (Gould, 2001;Pirkis et al., 2018), empirische Hinweise finden sich aber auch für das Fernsehen und das Internet. (Jobes et al. 1996). In Australien stellten Martin und Koo (1997) Schmidtke und Häfner (1986). ...
Chapter
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„Der Suizid trägt die Handschrift des Alters“ – dieser Leitsatz be- zeichnet nicht nur die epidemiologische Realität hoher Suizidraten, insbesondere der Männer im hohen Alter, son- dern auch die Spezifika der Suizids und der Suizidalität im Alter: Die Verbindung von lebensgeschichtlichen Prägun- gen und aktuellen, altersspezifischen Belastungen, wie z.B. die Häufung von Trennungen und Verlusten, wie auch von körperlichen Erkrankungen, deren psychosoziale Folgen das alltägliche Leben erheblich beeinträchtigen können. Trotz dieser bedeutsamen Faktoren sind Alterssuizidalität und der Suizid im Alter immer noch erheblich tabuisiert. Zentral ist dabei, dass das Versorgungssystem für suizidale alte Menschen in Deutschland unzureichend ist: Diese Bevölkerungsgruppe findet besonders schlecht Hilfe. Aber auch die Risikogruppen für Suizid im Alter werden nur schlecht erkannt und angesprochen. Zudem ist die gesellschaftliche Toleranz, ja Befürwortung des Suizids im Alter, immer noch weit verbreitet, werden Suizidalität, Lebensmüdigkeit und Depressivität als „typisch“ für dieses Le- bensalter verkannt. Spezifische Therapieansätze, Trainings sogenannter Gatekeeper und die Förderung einer gesell- schaftlichen Auseinandersetzung mit gelingendem Alter, mit Sterben und Tod können der Suizidprävention dienen.
... Reporting on the pandemic could have wider implications than only its basic informative function. It is unknown what effect regular reporting on cases, casualties, and containment methods could have on adherence to distancing rules or mental health [19,[37][38][39][40]. Though current sentiment analysis methods fall short of identifying complex nuance, they offer a good approximation for the position of text on the emotional spectrum (ie, negative, neutral, or positive). ...
... Am besten bestätigt ist der Effekt für die Pressebericht erstattung (Gould, 2001;Pirkis et al., 2018), empirische Hinweise finden sich aber auch für das Fernsehen und das Internet. (Jobes et al. 1996). In Australien stellten Martin und Koo (1997) Schmidtke und Häfner (1986). ...
Chapter
Why suicide is not a single or a singular behaviour; the many Categories of suicide; the need for Prevention/preventionists strategists to target the disparate suicides, to differentiate the kinds that can possibly be prevented from those that cannot be. Similarly, an examination of Suicide methods and access to them.
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Given the explosion in recent years of scholarship exploring the ways in which disability is manifested and performed in numerous cultural spaces, it's surprising that until now there has never been a single monograph study covering the important intersection of popular music and disability. George McKay's Shakin’ All Over is a cross-disciplinary examination of the ways in which popular music performers have addressed disability: in their songs, in their live performances, and in various media presentations. By looking closely into the work of artists such as Johnny Rotten, Neil Young, Johnnie Ray, Ian Dury, Teddy Pendergrass, Curtis Mayfield, and Joni Mitchell, McKay investigates such questions as how popular music works to obscure and accommodate the presence of people with disabilities in its cultural practice. He also examines how popular musicians have articulated the experiences of disability (or sought to pass), or have used their cultural arena for disability advocacy purposes.
Article
Philosophy both influences and is influenced by clinical and legal practice relating to suicide. This article begins with a brief history of attitudes in the UK and Europe towards those who attempt suicide. It describes the main philosophical positions regarding suicide, including the principle of respect for life, the utilitarian position, the theological principle, and the principles of autonomy and duty to others. It concludes that short-term interventions are justified in most cases, for example when the suicide attempt is a 'cry for help' and/or the individual is ambivalent in their attempt or likely to have a mental illness.
Article
Worldwide, more people die by suicide than by murder, and many more are left behind to grieve. Despite distressing statistics that show suicide rates rising, the subject, long a taboo, is infrequently talked about. In this sweeping intellectual and cultural history, poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht channels her grief for two friends lost to suicide into a search for history's most persuasive arguments against the irretrievable act, arguments she hopes to bring back into public consciousness. From the Stoics and the Bible to Dante, Shakespeare, Wittgenstein, and such twentieth-century writers as John Berryman, Hecht recasts the narrative of our "secular age" in new terms. She shows how religious prohibitions against self-killing were replaced by the Enlightenment's insistence on the rights of the individual, even when those rights had troubling applications. This transition, she movingly argues, resulted in a profound cultural and moral loss: the loss of shared, secular, logical arguments against suicide. By examining how people in other times have found powerful reasons to stay alive when suicide seems a tempting choice, she makes a persuasive intellectual and moral case against suicide.
Article
For female pop stars, whose star bodies and star performances are undisputedly the objects of a sexualized external gaze, the process of ageing in public poses particular challenges. Taking a broadly feminist perspective, 'Rock On': women, ageing and popular music shifts popular music studies in a new direction. Focussing on British, American and Latina women performers and ageing, the collection investigates the cultural work performed by artists such as Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, Madonna, Celia Cruz, Grace Jones and Courtney Love. The study crosses generations of performers and audiences enabling an examination of changing socio-historical contexts and an exploration of the relationships at play between performance strategies, star persona and the popular music press. For instance, the strategies employed by Madonna and Grace Jones to engage with the processes and issues related to public ageing are not the same as those employed by Courtney Love or Celia Cruz. The essays in this insightful collection reflect on the ways that artists and fans destabilise both the linear trajectories and the compelling weight of expectations regarding ageing by employing different modalities of resistance through persona re-invention, nostalgia, postmodern intertextuality and even early death as the ultimate denial of age.
Chapter
In the 1970s and 1980s, public health professionals increasingly focused on the figure of the troubled teenager, who they constructed as at risk of mass-media-provoked suicide contagion. Teenagers’ increased exposure to media today and such attendant problems as cyberbullying and harassment have inspired social media corporations to develop mental health tools meant to arrest the diminution of well-being their sites may create. The chapter argues that such tools naturalize communications media as an entry to mental health practices that view mental health as biological, diminishing attention to promoting social and community structures of care; that they participate in a general biopolitics of slow death, where only certain populations are marked out for intervention and rehabilitation; and that the use of natural language processing and other quantitative methods of analyzing messages on social media imposes biological understandings for mental health onto people’s expressions of frustration with their sociopolitical environment.
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to develop a framework for understanding deviant genres of music. Although it seems destructive, deviant music has positive effects, and can encourage greater socialization into the larger society. Design/methodology/approach – By looking at deviant music of the past, it is possible to see more clearly why such music was created, and what functions it has in society. Three main functions were identified: social criticism, spreading the news, and public catharsis of outstanding events. Findings – These three functions are found in deviant music today. But there are differences. Heavy metal, a counter culture, uses offensive language and images to repel unwanted outsiders and thus avoids commercialization. Grunge, music of a drop out culture, became popular and lost some of its alternative identity. Rap started as a legitimate African American youth art form but was hijacked by the music industry and has expanded beyond a meaningful art world. This has left both artists and listeners vulnerable to a distorted image. Originality – The real value of deviant music is its historical record of the inner world of subcultures.
Chapter
Angesichts von jährlich mehr als 800.000 Todesfällen weltweit, davon mehr als 10.000 in Deutschland, kommt wirkungsvollen Maßnahmen zur Suizidprävention auf nationaler wie internationaler Ebene entscheidende Bedeutung zu. Die Kommunikation über Suizide gilt dabei zum einen als Risikofaktor, zum anderen als Möglichkeit, Suizide zu verhindern. Der Beitrag nähert sich diesem Spannungsfeld zwischen „Werther-“ und „Papageno-Effekt“, beschreibt theoretische Hintergründe, Forschungsstand und Implikationen und leitet Empfehlungen für die Kommunikations- und Medienpraxis ab.
Chapter
Angesichts von jährlich mehr als 800.000 Todesfällen weltweit, davon mehr als 10.000 in Deutschland, kommt wirkungsvollen Maßnahmen zur Suizidprävention auf nationaler wie internationaler Ebene entscheidende Bedeutung zu. Die Kommunikation über Suizide gilt dabei zum einen als Risikofaktor, zum anderen als Möglichkeit, Suizide zu verhindern. Der Beitrag nähert sich diesem Spannungsfeld zwischen „Werther-“ und „Papageno-Effekt“, beschreibt theoretische Hintergründe, Forschungsstand und Implikationen und leitet Empfehlungen für die Kommunikations- und Medienpraxis ab.
Article
Background: Before the advent of an effective vaccine, non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask wearing, social distancing and lockdown have been the primary measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are highly effective when there is high population wide adherence, which requires information on current risks posed by the pandemic alongside a clear exposition of the rules and guidelines in place. Objective: Here we analyze online news media coverage of COVID-19. We quantify the total volume of COVID-19 articles, their sentiment polarization and leading subtopics, to act as a reference to inform future communication strategies. Methods: We collected 26 million news articles from the front pages of 172 major online news sources in 11 countries (available at sciride.org). Using topic detection we identified COVID-19-related content to quantify the proportion of total coverage the pandemic received in 2020. Sentiment analysis tool Vader was employed to stratify the emotional polarity of COVID-19 reporting. Further topic detection and sentiment analysis was performed on COVID-19 coverage to reveal the leading themes in pandemic reporting and their respective emotional polarizations. Results: We find that COVID-19 coverage accounted for approximately 25% of all front-page online news articles between January and October 2020. Sentiment analysis of English-speaking sources reveals that overall COVID-19 coverage is not exclusively negatively polarized, suggesting a wide heterogeneous reporting of the pandemic. Within this heterogenous coverage, 16% of COVID-19 news articles (or 4% of all English-speaking articles) can be classified as highly negatively polarized, citing issues such as death, fear or crisis. Conclusions: The goal of COVID-19 public health communication is to increase understanding of distancing rules and maximize the impact of governmental policy. The extent to which the quantity and quality of information from different communication channels (e.g. social media, government pages and news) influence public understanding of public health measures remains to be established. Here we conclude that quarter of all reporting in 2020 covered COVID-19, which is indicative of information overload. In this capacity, our data and analysis form a quantitative basis for informing health communication strategies along traditional news media to minimize the risks of COVID-19 while vaccination is rolled out. Clinicaltrial:
Article
This study investigated associations between indiscriminate media reporting of suicides and later inflated suicide counts among Israel's general population between the years 2008 through 2012. Self-inflicted deaths that received post-suicide media exposure (referred to as ‘publicized suicides’) were selected via Google news search-hit appraisals. Distributions of suicides were inspected and Risk Ratios (RRs) estimated by comparing population suicide rates 4-weeks before and 4-weeks after each publicized suicide (‘reference’ vs. ‘affected’ periods, respectively). Poisson time series regression was employed to account also for secular trends and seasonality. A total of 2,119 people died by suicide, 13 of whom received noticeable media attention throughout the study. No meaningful impact following the 13 deaths on subsequent suicide counts during the observation window (affected vs. reference phase) was found. Poisson regression confirmed that suicide counts following publicized suicides were independent of media coverage. Given the pronounced search hits following the publicized suicides developing regulation practices that constrain indiscreet media reporting should officially be included as part of suicide prevention practices. Future research should focus on imitation suicide effects as a function of post-suicide media exposure, while including both risk and protective factors.
Article
Medienberichte über den Suizid prominenter Personen sind mit einem Folgeanstieg der populationsbezogenen Suizidrate assoziiert. Von verschiedenen Organisationen wurden daher Leitfäden für die mediale Berichterstattung über Suizide vorgelegt. In der vorliegenden Untersuchung wurde am Beispiel des Suizids von Robert Enke († 2009) untersucht, inwieweit diese Medienempfehlungen in Deutschland umgesetzt wurden. Analysiert wurden sämtliche Artikel, die im Monat nach Enkes Suizid in zehn der auflagenstärksten deutschen Zeitungen und Zeitschriften publiziert wurden. Insgesamt konnten 169 Artikel identifiziert werden. Die Inhaltsanalyse verweist darauf, dass Medienempfehlungen zur Berichterstattung über Suizide im Fall von Robert Enke nur unzureichend berücksichtigt wurden: 77,5 % der Artikel wiesen mindestens ein Merkmal unangemessener Berichterstattung auf und 51,5 % der Artikel wiesen kein Merkmal präventiver Berichterstattung auf. Im Rahmen einer Clusteranalyse ließen sich fünf Berichterstattungsmuster identifizieren, die sich in ihrer inhaltlichen Ausrichtung und im Ausmaß, in dem präventive Inhalte präsentiert werden, deutlich voneinander unterscheiden. Berichte in der Boulevardpresse unterschieden sich nur geringfügig von Artikeln in anderen Zeitungen. Praktische Implikationen des Befundmusters werden diskutiert.
Article
This paper shows that suicides increase immediately after a suicide story has been publicized in the newspapers in Britain and in the United States, 1947-1968. The more publicity devoted to a suicide story, the larger the rise in suicides thereafter. The rise in suicides after a story is restricted mainly to the area in which the story was publicized. Alternative explanations of these findings are examined; the evidence indicates that the rise in suicides is due to the influence of suggestion on suicide, an influence not previously demonstrated on the national level of suicides. The substantive, theoretical, and methodological implications of these findings are examined.
Article
The age specificity of time-space clusters of suicide was examined using National Center for Health Statistics data for 1978-84. Significant clustering of suicide occurred primarily among teenagers and young adults, with minimal effect beyond 24 years of age. Clustering was two to four times more common among adolescents and young adults than among other age groups.
Article
Two clusters of teenage suicides occurred in Texas between February 1983 and October 1984. The eight suicides from the first cluster and the six from the second were investigated together in a case-control study using a closed-response questionnaire administered to parents. Three control teenagers were matched with each case subject on the basis of school district, grade, race, and sex. Questions concerned the direct and indirect exposures of subjects to previous suicides as well as their life circumstances and behaviors. Case subjects were not more likely than control subjects to have had direct exposure to suicide as measured by their acquaintance with a person who committed suicide. Similarly, indirect exposure to suicide through the media was not associated significantly with suicide. Case subjects were more likely to have attempted or threatened suicide previously, to have damaged themselves physically, and to have known someone closely who died violently. Case subjects were more likely to have broken up with their girlfriends or boyfriends recently. They also had moved more often than control subjects, attended more schools, and lived with more parent figures. Identification of high-risk youths through knowledge of relevant risk factors can help to direct preventive services to those young people most susceptible to suicide.
Article
Most people readily agree that suicide is caused by a complex web of many different factors. However, for many people the concept of a single event resulting from the combined effect of a constellation of different factors (multiple causation) is imperfectly understood. Unfortunately, a naive understanding of multiple causation can lead to needless arguments about what "really" causes suicide, and pointless debate about the "right" point for preventive intervention. In this paper, I review several simple conceptual models of multiple causation as they relate to suicide prevention. I suggest that a more explicit understanding of the nature of multiple causation has the potential to obviate some of these misguided arguments and to facilitate cooperative prevention efforts among person who choose to apply their energies at different points in the causal chain of suicide.