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Is Suicide Contagious?

AND CAN YOU CATCH IT? In the aftermath of legendary actor/ comedian Robin Williams self-inflicted death by hanging, the news world has been flooded with stories about depression and suicide. One story – published in The New York Times  – suggests suicide might be contagious.  And that the media may…

AND CAN YOU CATCH IT?

In the aftermath of legendary actor/ comedian Robin Williams self-inflicted death by hanging, the news world has been flooded with stories about depression and suicide.

One story – published in The New York Times  – suggests suicide might be contagious.  And that the media may be responsible for fueling outbreaks.

“Suicide contagion is real, which is why I’m concerned about it,” one Columbia University professor told Times  reporter Margot Sanger-Katz.

Wait … “suicide contagion?”  Yup.  Basically, this theory holds that one suicide – especially the suicide of a celebrity – can create a chain reaction, and that younger people are especially susceptible in such circumstances.

Sanger-Katz article also delves into how media coverage of suicides – especially the glamorization of suicide death – could be feeding the “suicide contagion.”  In fact her article points to reporting guidelines for those who cover suicides, urging them to leave out sensationalism and gory details and instead focus on preventative measures for dealing with mental illness.

For example, the guidelines suggests generic headlines like “Kurt Cobain Dead at 27” rather than something more detailed and graphic like “Kurt Cobain Used Shotgun to Commit Suicide.”

Interesting … utterly impractical in the TMZ.com era of reporting, but interesting.

What do you think?  Is “suicide contagion” real?  And does the media bear some responsibility in fueling it?

Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …

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11 comments

Suiciders make great pinata's August 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

Any chance the “contagion” can spread through Columbia university and take out a few annoying professors?

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euwe max August 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

suiciders

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jimlewisowb August 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

Suicide is contagious and the only Humans known to be immune are those individuals elected/appointed to office in the State of South Carolina

Studies indicate these individuals have a hump on one gene. This unusual genetic mutation also allows the same individuals to engage in unethical, immoral, lying, cheating, backstabbing, cork screwing, black hearted son of a bitch acts/doings with a total lack of conscience

Also at night these same Humpers morph into Cockroaches and run out into the night to eat dog shit

Yes, the media does fuel the process

Reply
The Colonel August 14, 2014 at 10:06 am

Before folks (the people, not Will) start calling BS on the genetic link to suicide here’s a link to one of the better abstracts on the studies linking a deficiency of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor to suicide.

http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/05_00/suicide_gene.shtml

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CorruptionInColumbia August 14, 2014 at 11:15 am

You rock, OWB!!!!

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Hawkeye Pierce August 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

According to Robert Altman, the movie industry and television: ‘Suicide is painless and brings on many changes. And you can take or leave it if you choose.’

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Trapper John August 14, 2014 at 11:35 am

The game of life is hard play, and you’re gonna lose it anyway…..

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RogueElephant August 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Suicide-contagious—could we make a vaccine and inject liberals and Dims ? Lots of problems solved.

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My Sister Aborted Our Baby August 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Go suck on a tailpipe.

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Bob White August 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm

If it’s contagious, one can only hope GrandTango “catches” it before we find a cure.

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easterndumbfuckistan August 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

The family just announced that he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Sad I have a family member with Parkinson’s and you can live a long time with minimal quality of life issues with Parkinson’s if it’s treated properly.

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