Is the internet encouraging suicide pacts?

December 02, 2004

A disturbing new trend in suicide pacts involving strangers meeting over the internet (cybersuicide) is emerging, warns a consultant psychiatrist in this week's BMJ.

The deaths of nine people in Japan in October 2004, who met over the internet and planned the tragedy via special suicide websites, have brought the relatively rare phenomenon of suicide pacts into the limelight, writes Sundararajan Rajagopal.

Traditional suicide pacts account for less than 1% of all suicides and almost always involve people well known to each other, mostly spouses, most of them childless. About half have psychiatric disorders and a third have physical illnesses.

An increasing number of websites graphically describe suicide methods, including details of doses of medication that would be fatal in overdose. Such websites can perhaps trigger suicidal behaviour in predisposed individuals, particularly adolescents, says the author.

The recent suicide pacts in Japan might just be isolated events in a country that has been shown to have the highest rate of suicide pacts, he adds. Alternatively, they might herald a new disturbing trend in suicide pacts, involving strangers meeting over the internet, becoming increasingly common.

If the latter is the case, then the epidemiology of suicide pacts is likely to change, with more young people living on their own, who may have otherwise committed suicide alone, joining with like minded suicidal persons to die together.

General practitioners and psychiatrists should continue to remain vigilant against the small but not insignificant risk of suicide pacts, he concludes.
-end-


BMJ

Related Internet Articles from Brightsurf:

Towards an unhackable quantum internet
Harvard and MIT researchers have found a way to correct for signal loss with a prototype quantum node that can catch, store and entangle bits of quantum information.

Swimming toward an 'internet of health'?
In recent years, the seemingly inevitable 'internet of things' has attracted considerable attention: the idea that in the future, everything in the physical world -- machines, objects, people -- will be connected to the internet.

Everything will connect to the internet someday, and this biobattery could help
In the future, small paper and plastic devices will be able to connect to the internet for a short duration, providing information on everything from healthcare to consumer products, before they are thrown away.

Your body is your internet -- and now it can't be hacked
Purdue University engineers have tightened security on the 'internet of body.' Now, the network you didn't know you had is only accessible by you and your devices, thanks to technology that keeps communication signals within the body itself.

What's next for smart homes: An 'Internet of Ears?'
A pair of electrical engineering and computer science professors in Cleveland, Ohio, have been experimenting with a new suite of smart-home sensors.

Child-proofing the Internet of Things
As many other current, and potentially future, devices can connect to the Internet researchers are keen to learn more about how so called IoT devices could affect the privacy and security of young people.

Quantum internet goes hybrid
ICFO researchers report the first demonstration of an elementary link of a hybrid quantum information network, using a cold atomic cloud and a doped crystal as quantum nodes as well as single telecom photons as information carriers.

Connecting up the quantum internet
Major leap for practical building blocks of a quantum internet: Published in Nature Physics, new research from an Australian team demonstrates how to dramatically improve the storage time of a telecom-compatible quantum memory, a vital component of a global quantum network.

Internet searches for suicide after '13 Reasons Why'
Internet searches about suicide were higher than expected after the release of the Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' about the suicide of a fictional teen that graphically shows the suicide in its finale, according to a new research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Weaponizing the internet for terrorism
Writing in the International Journal of Collaborative Intelligence, researchers from Nigeria suggest that botnets and cyber attacks could interfere with infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and power supply to as devastating an effect as the detonation of explosives of the firing of guns.

Read More: Internet News and Internet Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.