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A study on the alarming cases of teen suicide in america

Abstract There is increasing evidence that the Internet and social media can influence suicide-related behavior. Important questions are whether this influence poses a significant risk to the public and how public health approaches might be used to address the issue. To address these questions, we provide an overview of ways that social media can influence suicidal behavior, both negatively and positively, and we evaluate the evidence of the risk.

We also discuss the legal complexities of this important topic and propose future directions for research and prevention programs based on a public health perspective.

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon that has swept the world during the past decade. Social media fuses technology with social interaction via Internet-based applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. At the end of 2004, the popular social networking site Facebook had close to 1 million users; 2 by June 2011, that number had risen to nearly 700 million users worldwide.

Social media has become fundamental in the way many people and organizations communicate and share opinions, ideas, a study on the alarming cases of teen suicide in america information. Suicide is a considerable public health problem; more than 30 000 suicide deaths in the United States and nearly 1 million suicide deaths worldwide occur every year.

Attempts to assess the extent of the Internet's influence on suicide behavior are difficult because of the indirect and complex association between Internet use and suicide. The myriad legal complexities involved, as well as the important issues of freedom of speech and civil liberties, have also triggered debate.

Whether some of social media's influence on suicide behavior should be considered a public health problem and how public health approaches might be used to address this influence are relevant issues. In this article, we discuss the role of social media in suicide-related behavior and frame the issue from a public health perspective. We begin with discussion of the primary ways social media can a study on the alarming cases of teen suicide in america a negative influence on suicide-related behavior and we evaluate the evidence of this influence.

We then provide examples of how social media can be used in the prevention of suicide. We also discuss the legal complexities of this important topic and propose future directions for research and prevention programs that are based on a public health perspective. They analyzed the first 10 sites listed for each search, for a total of 240 different sites.

Approximately half were prosuicide Web sites and sites that provided factual information about suicide. Prosuicide sites and chat rooms that discussed general issues associated with suicide most often occurred within the first few hits of a search.

We should note that this study primarily focused on prosuicide search terms and thus likely excluded many suicide prevention and support resource sites. Together, these studies have shown that obtaining prosuicide information on the Internet, including detailed information on suicide methods, is very easy. A fundamental question is whether an association exists between rates of Internet use, including social media, and population suicide rates. Although limited, several preliminary studies have begun to address this question.

For example, Shah 12 conducted a cross-national study that examined the association between general population suicide rates and the prevalence of Internet users, using data from the World Health Organization's and the United Nations Development Program's Web sites. Shah showed that the prevalence of Internet users was positively correlated with general population suicide rates. We should note that the results of these studies cannot be considered conclusive because of cross-sectional designs and the possibility of ecological fallacy.

There are several specific ways that social media can increase risk for prosuicide behavior. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment, for example, are serious and prevalent problems. A review of data collected between 2004 and 2010 via survey studies indicated that lifetime cyberbullying victimization rates ranged from 20. These results also indicated that cyberbullying offenders were 1. Although cyberbullying cannot be identified as a sole predictor of suicide in adolescents and young adults, it can increase risk of suicide by amplifying feelings of isolation, instability, and hopelessness for those with preexisting emotional, psychological, or environmental stressors.

It has now become a more common form of suicide in Japan, 27 where the suicide rate increased from 34 suicides in 2003 to 91 suicides in 2005. The problem of cybersuicide pacts has gained international attention, however, and more research is needed to understand social media's impact on the formation of Internet-based suicide pacts.

The Internet has also provided a way for people to obtain how-to descriptions of suicide as well as lethal means to kill themselves. Unregulated online pharmacies outside of the United States have posed a significant risk to the public. Unfortunately, despite the development over the past decade of increased regulations and accreditation of Internet pharmacies through organizations such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the fight against unregulated online pharmacies that distribute unapproved or counterfeit drugs continues worldwide.

In Japan in 2008, 220 cases of people attempting suicide via hydrogen sulfide gas resulted in the deaths of 208 people. Family members, paramedics, and caregivers were reported to have been injured or even killed in attempts to save suicide victims because of the toxic gas methods used. A recent study by Dunlop et al. Additional analysis revealed no link between social networking sites e.

Video-sharing Web sites have also gained in presence and popularity on the Internet, especially since the creation of YouTube in 2005. Sixty-four percent had visual representations such as photographs of self-harming, specifically cutting.

Social media platforms such as chat rooms and discussion forums may also pose a risk for vulnerable groups by influencing decisions to die by suicide. A trend also appears to be emerging in which people use social media to leave suicide notes. In sum, evidence is growing that social media can influence prosuicide behavior. Because the Internet eliminates geographic barriers to communication between people, the emergence of prosuicide social media sites may present a new risk to vulnerable people who might otherwise not have been exposed to these potential hazards.

Both of these Facebook pages provide links to suicide prevention Web sites and hotlines, as well as information about the warning signs of suicide. We also found 580 groups on Twitter and 385 blog profiles on Blogger. These social media sites allow users to interact and share relevant information, stories, and events in their local areas. YouTube also has many videos devoted to suicide prevention, including those in the form of public service announcements.

  • Updated March 7, 2011;
  • Harris EC, Barraclough B;
  • Accessed July 22, 2011;
  • Whether or not families have openly LGBTQ children, it is vital to make home a safe and affirming space for all identities;
  • More access to mental health treatment is needed in the rural parts of Utah, she added;
  • Sensing a trend, Plemmons and his colleagues conducted the research to see what was happening across the country, he said.

For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs 55 produced suicide prevention public service announcements that encourage veterans and service members to seek help. We also found announcements from nonprofit organizations and universities that promote suicide prevention awareness programs at both the institutional and the national level.

Other videos were created by individual users and feature support and prevention content such as memorials for loved ones who died by suicide and personal stories of getting help.

  1. Accessed June 8, 2011 3. Some of the warning signs of suicide can include.
  2. Japanese experience of hydrogen sulfide. Accessed August 1, 2011 8.
  3. Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. In several cases where bullying victims killed themselves, bullies had told the teen that he or she should kill him or herself or that the world would be better without them.
  4. Because the Internet eliminates geographic barriers to communication between people, the emergence of prosuicide social media sites may present a new risk to vulnerable people who might otherwise not have been exposed to these potential hazards. Updated March 7, 2011.
  5. Fintel for their comments on an earlier version of this article.

Site users can create and design the appearance of their avatars, write a description about their personal experiences with suicide, and then record their voices or choose a computer-generated voiceover to narrate their stories. The site also provides contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and links to other suicide prevention organizations. As of November 2011, users had shared more than 880 stories. The use of this form of social media provides an anonymous, personalized, and interactive experience geared toward suicide prevention.

We also found examples of features on Web and social media sites that allowed for proactive prevention capabilities. For example, Google's Internet search engine has a feature that displays a link and message about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of the search page when keyword searches suggest suicidal ideation or intent e. We found similar suicide prevention links when we conducted the same search on Yahoo.

However, prosuicide sites were the first to appear when we used some other popular search engines. Facebook has also teamed up with the United Kingdom- and Ireland-based Samaritans charity organization to launch a suicide alert reporting system so that Facebook users can report individuals who they believe are expressing suicidal thoughts or intent.

The Report Suicidal Content page is used to collect data on the content, such as the Web address URL of the Facebook page, the full name of the user posting the content, and the date of the posting, as well as additional information. These suicide-related alerts are purported to be given top priority by Facebook's operation staff, who then connect the person who reported the postings with the Samaritan team to help give guidance and support.

For example, the site Afterdeployment. Other military sites that provide suicide awareness and support information through social media platforms include Suicideoutreach.

  • Published December 28, 2009;
  • We also found announcements from nonprofit organizations and universities that promote suicide prevention awareness programs at both the institutional and the national level;
  • Although some countries are able to control Internet Web sites created within their borders, international jurisprudence makes it difficult to obtain jurisdiction over sites that originate outside the United States;
  • Sher L, Vilens A, editors.

There is, however, a dearth of published data to date regarding the effectiveness of these platforms and the aforementioned social media—based suicide prevention programs. Social media, as we understand it today, has created virtual communities without physical borders.

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We have presented evidence showing that social media may pose a risk to vulnerable groups who are part of these virtual communities. We have also provided some examples of extant social media—based prevention applications and programs that follow from a public health—based approach. Framing the topic of social media and suicide from a public health perspective to address the issue and guide prevention programs makes sense.

More research is needed on the degree and extent of social media's negative and positive influences, as are evaluations of the effectiveness of social media—based suicide prevention programs. Further examination of subgroups that might be most vulnerable to suicide-promoting influences of social media is also warranted.

Cyberbullying facts and statistics for 2016-2018

A focus on adolescents and young adults is intuitive given that suicide is the third leading cause of death among these groups and that these groups have a high likelihood of encountering suicide-associated content on the Internet. Clarke and van Amerom 72 examined blogs created by depressed people and found that depressed men were more likely than depressed women to discuss suicide or self-harm via blogs.

Ultimately, additional research in this area will help to inform public health—based approaches to suicide prevention.

Several significant difficulties emerge, however, when conducting research on this topic. First, conducting research with suicide rates as an outcome variable is difficult because of suicide's low base rate.

Moreover, the variability in social media format, use patterns, and other influences on suicidal behavior makes it very difficult to test social media as a variable that predicts suicidal behavior. For example, an increased prevalence of other risk factors, such as alcohol use and availability of firearms among teens, might also explain the rise in suicide rates among this vulnerable group.

That is, whether an at-risk person is more likely to die by suicide because he or she can obtain information about it via the Internet cannot be easily demonstrated. Legal issues must also be considered when contemplating public health approaches to addressing some of the problems of social media and suicide. In particular are the legal complexities associated with the monitoring and filtering of content on the Internet.

Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective

Although some countries are able to control Internet Web sites created within their borders, international jurisprudence makes it difficult to obtain jurisdiction over sites that originate outside the United States.

Fiedorowicz and Chigurupati 6 pointed out that when radio, television, and newspapers broadcast or publish material of questionable intent or accuracy, they may be scrutinized by regulators or possibly lose ratings as a consequence. The generation and transmission of information via the Internet and social media, however, are decentralized and constantly being changed and updated by end users.

Thus, the Internet is an open gateway with few restrictions on content. Ultimately, the control of Internet content involves First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and expression. Restrictions on Internet content may possibly present a slippery-slope problem that can lead to additional restrictions of these rights. The role of social media and its potential influence on suicide-related behavior is a relatively new and evolving phenomenon that society is only beginning to assess and understand.

The emerging data regarding the influence of the Internet and social media on suicide behavior have suggested that these forms of technology may introduce new threats to the public as well as new opportunities for assistance and prevention. Because social media are mostly created and controlled by end users, the opportunity for surveillance and prevention can be extended to all users. To help facilitate this user-driven approach to surveillance and prevention, all social media sites could adopt simple-to-use methods for users to report malicious Web sites and activities of other users.

Moreover, the public promotion of direct and easy avenues for people to access help through social media sites should be a priority. Public health campaigns that leverage the Internet and social media to raise awareness of the issue in schools, colleges, and other settings might also be beneficial.

Alarming proportions of child and youth suicide in Kazakhstan

Those administrating suicide prevention and outreach public health campaigns must also stay current with social media trends and user preferences, as well as pertinent legal issues.

Ultimately, proactively using social media to increase public awareness of and education on mental health issues is a logical modern public health approach that can potentially save lives. Acknowledgments We thank Mark A. Reger, PhD, Julie T.