Suicide Among Young People

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Suicide Among Young People - Is It Contagious? By Ystgaard, Mette First Published in the Norwegian Journal Suicidologi 1997 The article informs us about several different studies of suicide among young people, for example, do the media have the power to push people to commit suicide or extinguish suicide? Such things as books, TV, movies, music, and local tragedies have been blamed for being contagious situations. In the former West Germany in 1989, a TV show that was a six episode series describing the suffering of a young man and how he threw himself in front of a train and died. The story intended as a suicide prevention measure had the opposite effect. There was an increase in subway suicides among young men who identified themselves with the character. (Schmidtke and Hafner 1989). In Vienna between the years 1984-1987, there was a dramatic increase in subway suicides. This figure later dropped by 75% after the media complied with guidelines recommended by an Austrian association for suicide prevention. Now we have the imitation effect or Werther effect, Phillips initially introduced this theory in 1974. The name "Werther effect" comes from a German author Goethe's story about a young intelligent dreamer named Werter, who shot himself for the sake of a lost love. After the publication of this book suicidal shootings became popular among young men. Imitation reinforced by such matters as identification and suggestion is a common explanation today, and supported for example, that many "contagion" suicides use the same method. There are many variables when it comes to suicide. Some young people are easily swayed into committing suicidal acts by suicide behavior of others. Some suffer from serious mental problems, while loss of friends or family members having drug or alcohol addictions are contributing factors.
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