Suicide and the Internet

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Suicide and the Internet have increasingly important relationships as Internet use becomes more ubiquitous. Several Internet suicides have occurred, and issues involving social media and suicide have gained some attention. A survey has found that suicide-risk individuals who went online for suicide-related purposes, compared with online users who did not, reported greater suicide-risk symptoms, were less likely to seek help, and perceived less social support.[1] Jurisdictional hindrances have sometimes prevented governments from effectively restricting pro-suicide sites and sites that describe suicide methods.[2] An Israeli site, SAHAR, sought to prevent suicide by providing supportive conversations and referrals to help resources.[3] There is some concern in the medical community that certain suicide methods described on the Internet, that can be easily found by searching for terms such as "suicide," "suicide methods," "suicide sure methods," "most effective methods of suicide," "methods of suicide," "ways to commit suicide," "how to commit suicide," "how to kill yourself," "easy suicide methods," "best suicide methods," "pain-free suicide," or "quick suicide,"[4] are potentially more lethal than methods people might otherwise consider.[5] In 2008 police in the United Kingdom expressed concern that "Internet cults" and the desire for achieving prestige via online memorials may encourage suicides.[6]

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  1. ^ Harris, Keith; McLean, John; Sheffield, Jeanie (July 2009), "Examining Suicide-Risk Individuals Who Go Online for Suicide-Related Purposes", Archives of Suicide Research (Archives of Suicide Research) 13 (3): 264–276, doi:10.1080/13811110903044419, PMID 19591000 
  2. ^ Mishara, Brian L.; Weisstub, David N. (2007), "Ethical, legal, and practical issues in the control and regulation of suicide promotion and assistance over the internet", Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (Suicide & life-threatening behavior) 37 (1): 58–65, doi:10.1521/suli.2007.37.1.58, ISSN 0363-0234, PMID 17397280 
  3. ^ Barak, Azy (March 2007), "Emotional support and suicide prevention through the Internet: A field project report", Computers in Human Behavior (Computers in Human Behavior) 23 (2): 971–984, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2005.08.001 
  4. ^ Biddle, Lucy et al. (2008), "Suicide and the internet", BMJ (British Medical) 336 (7648): 800–802, doi:10.1136/bmj.39525.442674.AD, PMC 2292278, PMID 18403541 
  5. ^ Prior, Trevor (August 2004), "Suicide Methods From the Internet", The American Journal of Psychiatry (Am J Psychiatry) 161 (8): 1500–1, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.161.8.1500-a, PMID 15285986 
  6. ^ Nick Britten and Richard Savill (23 Jan 2008), Police fear internet cult inspires teen suicides, Telegraph